The federal government has announced that it will give each state of the federation, including the federal capital territory, a sum of N5 billion as a palliative measure to cushion the impact of the removal of the payment of subsidy on fuel. The decision was made public by Borno State governor Babagana Zulum on Thursday during an interactive session with State House correspondents in Abuja.
The removal of the fuel subsidy was declared by President Bola Tinubu in his inaugural speech on Monday, citing budgetary concerns and the need to spend the funds on public infrastructure and to improve the lives of people⁴⁵. The policy led to a steep rise in fuel prices and widespread panic-buying of fuel. Some bus companies have been unable to refuel their vehicles, leaving many people stranded.
The subsidy removal has also sparked fears among many Nigerians that they will be unable to meet the costs of education, food and healthcare. Amnesty International has urged the government to put in place measures to protect the rights of people most affected by the policy and to prioritize addressing widespread hunger, higher unemployment and the rapidly falling standard of living.
The government has yet to suggest any ways to mitigate the impact of this decision for people on low incomes. It has also not responded to longstanding demands by civil society and parliamentarians to investigate the fuel market chain and hold accountable all those involved in smuggling, hoarding and ‘subsidy scams.