The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students, ( NANS) has said there is no basis for the Executive to continue to subject Nigerians to hardship by refusing to assent to the 2016 budget as passed by the National Assembly.
A state of the nation address circulated to newsmen on Sunday in Abuja which was signed by its National President, Comrade Tijjani Usman said leadership of the student body has been constrained to make the calll as another attempt aimed at redeeming the “country from the shackles of want, ignorance, illiteracy and excruciating poverty”.
The student umbrella body wondered why, instead of signing the document, President Muhamadu Buahri surprised the nation when he ordered that the document be sent back to the Ministries for review after an emergency meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC which the president summoned immediately after he received the budget details on Thursday.
Part of the address read, “with the benefit of hindsight, we wish to remind you that when the budget was first sent to the lawmakers, it was stressed that a presidential aide, Sen. Ita Enang was the brain behind the presentation of a parrallel version of the budget after the President laid an original copy. Yet, President Muhammad Buhari failed to make him to face the music.
“As if that was not enough insult for a government that rode on the shoulders of popular goodwill to clinch power in the 2015 elections, one minister after the other took to their respective committees in the national assembly to denounce the figures contained therein. While all that blame game lasted, the national assembly in its wisdom thought it wise to do a thorough job on the document based on the predicament we have found ourselves in, available resources or realistic projections that the country could afford and finally, the document was released with modifications”, Tijjani stressed.
He siad it was unbelievable ro understand that even as NASS comprehensively studied the situation on ground, engaged key stakeholders while it retained possession of the appropriation bill in line with the constitutional provision, hardly did Nigerians know that the Executive has perfected plans and indeed planted several booby traps along the line in order to further truncate the last breathing space left for the already traumatised people.
The body siad the country has been made to suffer untold hardship by the present administration which were not envisaged the electorates when they were voting the party into power during the 2015 elections.
“Since the beginning of this year, prices of major essential goods and services have continued to rise to a crescendo with no concrete step taken to reverse the illicit trend. This is unacceptable. The fact that the executive have budgets for such goods which is funded from taxpayers money does not mean that the rest of us must be going to bed with empty stomachs”, he added.
“You are all witnesses to the tremendous pains we are going through arising from fuel scarcity. Most Nigerians are now forced to relocate to filling stations to pass their nights in order to get fuel for their vehicles. Never in the history of Nigeria had we witnessed such scarcity in this propensity.The commodity is now sold at about 50% or more above rregulated pump ppriceacross the federation including Abuja, the seat of government. Transportation cost have raised to an unimaginable level.
“Yet, the minister of state for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu recently insulted the sensitivity of Nigerians by calling on them to go to magic doctors to fix the problem. It is unbelievable when one discovers that inspite of this biting scarcity, President Muhammad Buhari has not deemed it appropriate to address the nation either as her President or substantive Petroleum Minister”, he pointed out.
On ducation sector, Tijani said the president has created a monumental confusion by his unilateral removal of governing boards without recourse to the extant laws Insisting that confusion still lingers across the length and breadth of the academic landscape arising from the decision which believed shouldn’t have occurred in the first place.
He also acused the APC-led administration of forcing Nigerians into paying unsubstantiated high tarif for the service the state has not provided just as he said water supply to towns, institutions and farms for sanitation and irrigation purposes have been relegated to the background maintaining that direction less economic policy of the administration has led to inflation.
“Unemployment has assumed an evil dimension. The non-implementation of the 2015 capital budget allocations has also sent several artisans out of daily earnings. Thousands of previously employed people are now loosing their jobs on a daily basis. They have now joined forces with the band of the unemployed.
“Moreso, it was with a rude shock that we received the news that the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo told the nation that current 5% Value Added Tax must be made to pave way for a higher one. One wonders where Nigerians will get the money to pay high taxes for everything when they are deliberately impoverished by the state which is suposed to be the keeper of good conscience and authoritatively allocate positive values to the state.
“Of particular worry is the resumed wantom destruction of lives and properties by Fulani herdsmen who are killing innocent citizens in their homesteads and farmlands with impunity. And the state has at best paid lips service to this development”, he emphasised.
“For us at NANS we make bold to call on the executive to behave responsibly by doing the needful. They are fighting and arguing over huge amounts of money while the rest can barely survive. This must stop”, he concluded.
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