Tinubu’s Policies Are Counterproductive, Inflicting More Pains On Nigerians – Catholic Bishops

Monday, 19 February 2024 07:56

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Catholic Bishops in the country, under the auspices of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), have told President Bola Tinubu that his policies are inflicting untold hardship on Nigerians.

The Bishops lamented that there is increasing hunger in the country, unemployment, kidnapping, general insecurity and other crimes are on the increase, and there is a high cost of food and living.

Speaking on Sunday through the CBCN President, Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, the Bishops said the reforms initiated by President Tinubu have so far been counterproductive, with more Nigerians being plunged into poverty.

Ugorji made the position of the Bishops known when he delivered a speech at the opening session of the 2024 First Plenary Assembly of the CBCN held at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria Resource Centre, Durumi Abuja.

The cleric said the fuel subsidy removal, coupled with the floating of the naira, has not yielded any positive result so far, and the government is only asking people to make sacrifices and exercise patience while no corresponding action on the part of the leaders is been seen.

He said: “Evidently, the reform agenda of President Tinubu has added to the plight of Nigerians. With the withdrawal of fuel subsidies and the unification of the foreign exchange market, there has been a sharp increase in the pump price of petroleum products, and a steady decline in the value of the Naira.

“High spiralling inflation has made it difficult for the average Nigerian to access basic commodities, including food items and medication. Millions of Nigerians have been reduced to a life of grinding poverty, wanton suffering, and untold hardship as never before in our national history. In a bid to survive, an increasing number of poor people have resorted to begging. With more than 80 million Nigerians living under the poverty line of less than two dollars a day.”

Expressing further dissatisfaction with the policies of the Tinubu government, Ugorji added that: “If we have to be very frank with ourselves and not wallow in self-delusion, we must admit that we are faced with a case where therapy is worse than the disease. The government’s reform agenda is turning out to be counterproductive. Despite the efforts of the government to boost our economy, our nation has continued to sink economically deeper and deeper into a bottomless pit.

“In withdrawing the fuel subsidy, the government assured Nigerians it would save a lot of money to be injected into other national development sectors. Rather than give evidence of money so far saved from the withdrawal of subsidies for which Nigerians are being afflicted with untold hardship, all we hear is the government’s accumulation of more and more foreign debts to balance its budgetary deficit, thereby mortgaging the future of our nation and generations yet unborn.

“We must also be frank to admit that government’s efforts to fight corruption have remained prostrate, and as a result, Nigeria is rated as one of the most corrupt nations in the world. The crusade against corruption needs to be more proactive. Adequate checks and balances need to be implemented in our public financial management to prevent dishonest and greedy public servants from stealing public money with case and impunity.

“A financial management and accounting system that allows fraudulent government officials to freely loot huge sums of money from public coffers needs total overhauling. Though ICPC and EFCC have recovered billions of Naira from corrupt government officials, but it has failed to win most of its cases before the Court of Justice due to poor investigation and presentation of corruption cases.

“Until our anti-corruption institutions can successfully prosecute and jail corrupt government officials, corruption will continue to thrive in Nigeria. So, the government should rise to its primary responsibility of securing the lives and property of its citizens.

“The government does not need to reinvent the wheel since it can easily learn from what other nations do to provide adequate security for its citizens. It goes without saying that there cannot be any meaningful development in any country without adequate security. It will be belabouring the obvious to state that security in our country will remain a tall dream if mass unemployment exists among our youths.”

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