Says fuel subsidy is a scam
The Presiding Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission, Dr. Mike Okonkwo, has raised the alarm that the N5,000 the Federal Government announced that it intends to disburse monthly to 40 million Nigerians could be siphoned by some unscrupulous individuals.
He stated that there is no data for the determination and effective disbursement of the planned stipend.
The FG had announced its plan to remove subsidy on premium motor spirit, popularly called petrol in 2022, and disburse N5000 monthly to 40 million Nigerians who are considered poor as a strategy to cushion biting effects of the fuel subsidy removal and the attendant rise in the pump price of petrol.
The bishop urged the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari, to have a rethink on the plan.
According to him, though the intention of the government may be genuine, unscrupulous individuals could cash in on that to siphon the money meant for the poor.
He reiterated that such a measure could lead to corruption with the attendant increase in the suffering of those for who the money was intended to alleviate their plights.
He spoke to journalists at TREM’s International headquarters, Obanikoro, Anthony Oke, Lagos on the sidelines of the closing ceremony of the 40th anniversary of the ministry and its 32nd Kingdom Life World Conference titled, ‘Exceeding Glory.”
Analysts have said it is illogical and surprising that FG will remove the annual fuel subsidy of N1.8 trillion and replace it with N2.4 trillion which is the sum of N5,000 monthly payment to 40 million Nigerians for a year.
Okonkwo said, “I do not know how they came about such a decision because, for me, the issue of subsidy in Nigeria is totally a scam because there are people who have enriched themselves and reaped off the treasury through subsidy. Like I have said before subsidy is supposed to alleviate the suffering and pains of people in the country and make it easy for people to travel and buy fuel at a cheap rate. You will agree with me that nobody has bought fuel at a cheap rate. So if that is the truth, then what is the use of subsidy? And then again, I will not subscribe to the idea of N5000. On what premise is that going to be done? Where is the data? How do you even know those who are going to get the money? For me, until the issue of subsidy is thoroughly investigated and probably find a better way to deal with it, I will not subscribe to the payment of N500.
“My line of thought is that it will be another avenue for some people to siphon money. The government may mean well but at the end of the day, it will not work. It will be another avenue for people to siphon money and if what I read in the newspapers is through, you find out that the amount of money involved, to be able to give to the 40m is much more than the subsidy. So then, what is the use? if the amount involved in the subsidy is while we are removing subsidy, why are we going to spend more because in order to give to 40m people? It does not make sense.”
The Bishop called on the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari, the 36 Governors, the ministers, members of the National Assembly, state legislators, elected and appointed government functionaries, members of the judiciary, and the entire Nigerians to all collaborate and exhibit genuine, and positive efforts towards saving Nigeria from sliding to the precipice.
He decried the current insecurity, corruption, hardship, and other developmental challenges in Nigeria.
The bishop lamented that Nigeria’s current situation is complex.
He passionately urged the FG and other relevant authorities to bring to end insecurity in the nation.
He, warned them against a lackadaisical attitude towards ending insecurity, adding that if not addressed, insecurity may consume those who were supposed to have addressed it.
He, however, encouraged people to be hopeful about God intervening and saving the country from its present challenges.
He prophesied that 2022 will be a year of acceleration, adding that Nigerians should focus on God to enjoy the ‘Year of acceleration.’
The bishop advised the Nigerian electorate not to sell their votes but to elect people who will deliver dividends of democracy and good governance to the people.
Okonkwo said, “Nigeria’s situation is complex. Nigeria has become an enigma and there are a lot of contradictions that you can not really explain ordinarily.
“Insecurity has become very alarming and I do not know why it can not be dealt with decisively probably they are overwhelmed. I do not know. So that is why for me, I have resorted and that is what I will tell every believer, we just have to keep praying and trusting God to help us, intervene, and navigate the whole challenge.
“There are people who have made it a business sort of, either to kidnap and cause mayhem in different communities and cause problems. That is not acceptable.
“But I know that there is nothing that God can not help us do. For me, believers must keep praying.
Those in authority, should not think that because they have immunity, they are exempted because if they fail to deal decisively with this thing, violence has a way of turning around and consuming the people who should have dealt with it. My advice to those in authority is that they should take a quality decision, intentionally and strategically, begin to deal with those issues because a nation without security is really (you will not call that a nation).”
He added, “As Nigerians, they should ensure that we focus on God so that they will enjoy 2022, the ‘Year of Acceleration,’ because at the end of the day, God is the one that told us is our year of acceleration. But our relationship with God and connection with Him will determine how far we can be able to receive the acceleration, as Nigerians generally.
“Second, the election year is coming. I want to advise people that their lives are more than a bag of rice and a bag of salt. Let us not continue to complain that the government did this, the government did that. We have the power to vote in people. I know people will say, ‘well your votes do not count.’ It is not altogether true, because there is a way you can not rig an election. There is a limit to rigging an election. For instance, if people go out massively to vote for one person who they believe can deliver the dividends of democracy to them, not somebody who gave them money, you will find out that there is no way (at election will be rigged.) It is said that the voice of the people is the voice of God. So we must refuse to allow anyone to buy our votes. Your vote is your life. So if you want good governance, then shoot for good people that will lead well. Whether you like it or not, once we enter 2022, the race will be very fierce and it will start and people will come from different corners and will want to buy your vote. Please do not sell your vote. Selling your vote is selling your life. Let us at this time (to vote well), we have cried for too long in this country. Let us bind together and save this nation from going to the precipice.”
Says fuel subsidy is a scam