Former Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar has warned that an increase in the pump price of fuel will push millions of Nigerians into poverty.
General Abdulsalami, who was speaking at the 19th Daily Trust Summit in Abuja, said the country is facing challenges on multiple fronts and a hike in fuel price will only compound the situation.
“On top of all these, fuel prices are expected to rise significantly in the coming months as announced last November by the NNPC,” General Abdulsalami said.
“We all know when this happens, as the government has planned, it will push many millions deeper into poverty.”
According to him, the country’s rising unemployment or underemployment level is impacting the security of the nation.
“Unemployment or underemployment remain at record levels. And over 80 million Nigerians are still caught up in needless poverty.
“All of these tend to have negative effects on security. In fact, Nigeria now faces a food security crisis that is compounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic and the banditry in many states in Northern Nigeria.
“All of these have disrupted the fragile value chains across the country, and negatively impacted the ability of Nigerians to produce, process, and distribute food,” he added.
The former Nigerian leader spoke against the backdrop of plans by the Federal Government to remove fuel subsidy which will see fuel go for over N300 per litre.
In place of the subsidy, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said the government will give a stipend of N5,000 to 40 million poor Nigerians to cushion the impact of the move.
But the organised labour and the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), among others, have rejected the government’s plan.
The latter had threatened that the country will be shut down if the Federal Government goes ahead to remove the subsidy later in the year.