University workers and lecturers under the aegis of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have groaned about the economic pains and hardship caused by the Federal Government’s decision on fuel subsidy removal.
According to them, the removal of the fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu was done ‘unintelligently.’
Recall that President Bola Tinubu had, during his inaugural address on May 29, announced the end of the fuel subsidy regime, which instantly pushed up the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, from N165 per litre to N540 and subsequently to N568 and N617 per litre depending on the location.
Reacting to the hardship from this development, the National President Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, Mr. Ibrahim Mohammed, said even though Nigerians are in pain, no progress has been made since the removal of the fuel subsidy.
Mohammed said the government had yet to offset four months’ salary, stressing that none of its promises had been fulfilled.
He told The Punch on Monday that “The government removed the subsidy very unintelligently; now that they have removed the subsidy, nothing has changed except that people can’t feed, we can’t pay our children’s school fees, and people are committing suicide.
“We lamented the way the government handled this idea of subsidy removal; we welcome the removal if that will be the solution to Nigeria’s problems. But the government is not strategic with the removal. You have thrown people into anguish, into the wild forest, and people are scampering.
“Most university campuses are located on the outskirts, and people have to commute 15km to 20 km. How can work be done when a full tank can no longer last a week?
“Salary not reviewed, and other promises made by the past government are not being fulfilled. They are owing us four months’ salary; the revitalisation funds have not been paid.
“If they feel the plight of Nigerians and of university staff, they will fulfil all their promises and meet up with the commitment of Earned Allowance and review salaries so that people can face their jobs. All civil servants have been exposed to hardship, so how can they stop corruption?”
Similarly, the Chairman, ASUU, University of Lagos chapter, Prof. Kayode Adebayo, revealed that due to the fuel subsidy removal, living in Nigeria was now tough for lecturers as it was for every Nigerian.
Adebayo remarked that “All lecturers are paid peanuts; this was part of the reasons we fought against the government about the 2009 agreement. We tried to negotiate; no need to pretend; the situation was still the same. Just as it is tough for ordinary Nigerians, so it is tough for us too.
“Government is responsible for the security of the citizens. The citizen welfare has been compromised. The government needs to put a smile on the faces of Nigerians. Nigerian citizens are hardworking and understanding, and that is why we say Nigerians are the most docile people in the world.
“The government needs to look at the plight of the citizens. We have what it takes to build a country that everybody will be proud of, not people who will finish (graduate) here and be looking abroad for greener pastures.”