Rising cost of living consequences of our past – Shettima

 

Vice-President Kashim Shettima has urged Nigerians to be mature and responsible in making their grievances known over the nation’s current economic challenges.

He also said the current challenges facing the nation are consequences of the past which the country needed to break away from and do things differently for economic sanity to prevail.   

The VP further said like any other reforms by any government, the economic policies and choices of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration came with challenges which mostly affect the poor in the society, clarifying however that the government had no intention to punish Nigerians.  

Vice President Shettima stated this Sunday at the 29th pre-Ramadan lecture organised by the University of Lagos Muslim Alumni Association and themed “Economic Reforms for Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects for the Future.”

Speaking through his Special Adviser (Political Matters), Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the vice president also said the forthcoming Ramadan would come with severe challenges for many Nigerians.

“The leadership of President Tinubu recognizes that this Ramadan will come with severe challenges for most Nigerians. The road to where we are today was long and full of missed opportunities and tragic failures to build on our great potentials.

“The consequences of our past are the stark realities we face today, such as rising cost of living and pessimism over our prospect to turn round our economy in the direction of growth and inclusive development.

“Yet, my brothers and sisters, we do not have the choice of continuing in the direction that brought us where we are today. We have to fix this country, and failure to do this is not an option. All the options we have are difficult and challenging, and they are, without a doubt, more telling on the poor. If there are easier and reliable alternatives to the policy choices we have adopted, we would have adopted them.

“Our administration does not plan to make lives of Nigerians more difficult, nor do we intend to deceive fellow citizens that the change in direction and the expected outcome can be achieved without pain or sacrifices.

“We are also acutely aware that ours is a set of related Nigerian problems, and the solutions we seek must be genuinely informed by a Nigerian context, not the experiences of others or the preferences of special foreign interests which are removed from consequences of mis-steps or errors of judgement,” Shettima said.

Speaking further, he said: “Fellow alumni, I appeal to you to help make space for our administration to achieve the goal of turning our nation around. As products of a distinguished institution, we have learnt that progress is only possible if it is informed by criticism and critical scrutiny. We expect that Nigerians should express their feelings over our circumstances in a responsible and mature manner. We are also a deeply religious people, and we believe in the powers of faith and prayers. Let us be reminded that Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala tests His servants with ease and hardship, and He asks that we pray to Him for relief from hardship, and discipline in times of abundance.

“I join you in praying that Allah will grant us the privilege of undertaking our Ramadan fast as prescribed by Him, and we shall receive the reward.”

…Hungry Abuja residents loot

Meanwhile, some hungry residents Sunday forced their ways into a warehouse in Gwagwalada, a suburb of Abuja, carting away food items.

Although the facility is said to belong to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), but the agency denied ownership.

 The facility, according to the accounts of some residents, was broken into in the early hours of the day and the looting spree lasted for hours before security personnel later came to send away the looters.

Blueprint gathered some of the suspects were arrested during the police raid on the area, but this could not be confirmed as at the time of this report.

According to sources, the residents carted away foodstuffs and other items.

In his account, Amos Asubiero, a Karimo resident, said: “It started as early as 6.00am by which time we were going to church. I gathered that the people, especially youth, made away with maize and some food items. In fact, people also went from Karimo, Jiwa and even as far as Idu to go and have their share.  They were there for like three or three and a half hours before the police now came to disperse them. People are hungry and government needs to quickly do something.”

 Corroborating the above account, another resident, Wealth David Braimoh-WEST, said: “Very many people rushed out to go and loot the food items. The information I got was that a truck brought some food items, possibly maize, early in the morning, and in trying to offload, people got wind of the development and moved in.

“And they also vandalized all the items used to protect the facility and went away with them. This caused a lot of traffic jam in the Karimo/Jiwa route, leading to Dei-Dei express road. Of course, there was a moment of confusion while the looting lasted. In all of this, the Okada and Keke riders made quick money. Again, I was told it lasted for about three hours.”

…Situation under control  

The FCT Police Command confirmed the looting of the warehouse, adding however that the situation had been brought under control.

Confirming the incident, the command’s spokesperson, SP Josephine Adeh, however, said officers and men were already on ground stem the tide.  

Adeh said:  “The situation is now under control.”

…NEMA denies ownership of facility

And in a reaction, the NEMA denied ownership of the looted facility even as it directed its officials nationwide to ensure security of its warehouses.

Director General NEMA Mustapha Habib Ahmed, in a statement Sunday, directed zonal directors and heads of operations to strengthen security in and around the agency’s offices and warehouses nationwide, to guard against looting.

Mustapha said this in the statement signed by Manzo Ezekiel of the NEMA’s press unit in Abuja.

“The attention of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has been drawn to media reports on Sunday alleging that the Agency’s warehouse was looted by some hoodlums in Abuja. 

“This is to clarify that the looted warehouse does not belong to NEMA. However, the Agency sympathises with owners of the looted facility. 

“To forestall any security breach at NEMA facilities, the Director General Mustapha Habib Ahmed has directed Zonal Directors and Heads of Operations to strengthen security in and around the Agency’s offices and warehouses nationwide,” Ezekiel said.

About Oguntade Ismaila, Lagos and Paul Okah, Abuja

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