Rights activists protest against corruption, drop in electricity, fuel supply in Lagos
A coalition of human rights activists and civil society organisations yesterday staged a mass protest in Lagos against corrupt practices and socio-economic conditions that have worsened the plight of Nigerians under the current administration.
The protesters, numbering over 1,000 in their all green outfits, marched through the streets of Ikeja, all the way to the State House in Alausa to register their grievances and for onward transmission to Abuja.
While they commended the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s commitment to the fight against corruption, the group bemoaned persistent scarcity of petroleum products and electricity supply.
Worst still, they regretted lack of clear-cut plan by Federal Government to improve the living conditions of the Nigerian masses, all of which, according to them, have plunged the country into abject poverty and far-reaching crisis in the “change” era.
The protesters, led by the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), said it was high time the Federal Government had come up with a strategy in the anti-corruption crusade and on worsening electricity and fuel situation.
National President of CDHR, Malachy Ugwummadu, said though they applaud the current administration on steps to recover looted funds, they were most concerned that the war against corruption and prosecutions may end up as “a circus show” without a clearly defined strategy and its institutionalisation.
Also, a member of CDHR, Mr. Ajiboye Rauf, in an interview with The Guardian said: “What I can say about the campaign we are holding here is to fight against corruption. The cost of living is getting high and people in government are exploiting the poor masses. We struggle to send our children to school even to meet our basic needs. Our government is not meeting up to our expectations. We want the government to use the money collected from looters to the advantage of the citizens by establishing infrastructures. We are specific on electricity supply.”
In another development, an electricity consumer and a fashion designer in Jos, Chief Okafor Eni, has described the increase in electricity bills as very wrong and unfortunate.
Eni said: “You can see there is no light since morning in this area. And the money we have been paying, we are complaining about it. And we still pay the bills despite the fact that there is no light. And today, they have increased the tariff making it compulsory that you must pay the money that you are not enjoying. It is wrong.
“The government has to look at the state of the nation. If they look at the state of the nation, they will see that the people on the streets are the people that are suffering from this tariff increase. So, they should consider the poor masses. It is only few people who can pay this money without pain. Even the money that people paid before, they know how they struggled to see that they removed this money and pay. It is not easy.”
In the same vein, Executive Chairman of Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), Debo Adeniran, said that the government has not handled the issue of power, energy and infrastructure with the urgency and political will they require, thus “almost all vital sectors of the polity seem to be in comatose or serious crises.”
He said while the government had allegedly budgeted humongous sums for Aso Rock renovation, websites and a lot of frivolities, “it has relegated the well-being and social welfare of the ordinary people to the background.
“Yet, this is a government that rode on the mantra of ‘change’ to get elected. Where is the change is the question on the lips of Nigerians presently. In the power sector under the Ministry of Works, Power and Housing, superintended by Babatunde Fashola (SAN), a hike in the tariff electricity has been imposed on Nigerians for services not rendered to them. This is a flagrant and audacious corruption in a situation where the government is pontificating that it is against corruption and illegality,” he said.
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