By G9ija

No fewer than 180 civil society organisations (CSOs) based in Kano State have rejected the increase in pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS) known as petrol and electricity tariff, describing it as anti-people.

At a press conference in Kano yesterday, the CSOs under the umbrella of Kano Civil Society Forum (KCSF) demanded an immediate reversal of the new price regimes for PMS and electricity.

Accusing the All Progressives Congress (APC) government led by President Muhammadu Buhari of encouraging corruption, the group urged the leadership to focus more on reducing the cost of governance and plugging leakages.

President of the forum, Ibrahim Waiya, disclosed that CSOs in Kano, joining millions of Nigerians agitated by the sudden action of government, insisted that the government must listen to the plight of the masses or prepare to face the consequences.

According to Waiya, civil society groups in the state regretted the “anti-people’s policy” coming at a period most Nigerians are still struggling to survive the excruciating impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Waiya warned that the CSOs would not hesitate to join any mass protest in the event the government failed to listen to the cries of the masses.

“We strongly believe that such an increase will further worsen the already deteriorating living conditions of Nigerians. Rather than these increases, the government should be looking at giving out palliatives to its citizens to cushion the devastating effect of the pandemic,” he stated.

A member of the group, Saidu Dakata, who decried the “colossal fraud” in the name of subsidy, said that gradual withdrawal of the subsidy would have relieved the masses of the present hardship.

Dakata said: “We know that the best way to end the crisis in the oil sector is to ensure our refineries work optimally. But in the absence of locally-produced products, the government should have waited for a year or thereabouts, when the Dangote refinery would have been completed to serve local consumption, before removing the subsidy.”

“Government can still allow the subsidy for some time, but to remove it outright at this period when the economy is bad smacks of heartlessness. No consultation, but total disregard to public feelings.

“We are rejecting the removal. If the government is ready to remove the subsidy, why not repair the refineries?”