…DON'T PUSH NIGERIANS TO THE WALL -DAVID-WEST, OTHERS WARN
Former minister of petroleum, Prof. Tam David-West and other eminent scholars have warned President Goodluck Jonathan to stop the ongoing insistence on removal of subsidy on petroleum products.
They gave the warning at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Faculty of Arts Distinguished Guest Lecture entitled, 'Oil Subsidy: The Facts, the Fiction, the Fraud.'
David-West warned the Federal Government to listen to people's rejection of the proposed policy as failure to do so would spark mass protests that might make the happenings in Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia and other countries a child's play.
He accused the president of wasting public fund on propaganda on 'non-existent fuel subsidy,' urging him to tackle the myriad of problems facing the country to justify his mandate.
He challenged Jonathan, the Minister for Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, former commonwealth secretary general, Emeka Anyaoku and Prof. Jibril Aminu to a public debate.
'Oil subsidy is a fraud. It does not exist. Can you subsidise what does not exist. They should stop lying to us. They should stop wasting millions of naira on propaganda. My challenge to five of them to public debate is still open.
'For how long are we going to be tightening our belt? The waist is cutting into two! He's rushing where angels tread softly. Jonathan should tread softly. He should back-pedal and embark on programmes that will alleviate people's suffering,' he warned.
The Chairman of the lecture, Prof. Omotoye Olorode of the University of Abuja called on Nigerians to get ready for prolonged protest if the government refused to drop the 'satanic and inhuman' policy. 'They did not tell us they are going to add more to our suffering when they were pleading for our votes. We should march against them. They are profiting from our suffering and we must stop them,' he charged.
Other speakers including Prof. Idowu Awopetu and Prof. Sola Ogedengbe, both of OAU, as well as Dr. Chijioke Nwasonba also warned the president against declaring war on the masses.