July 19, 2024

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Seek Debt Relief, Cut Public Officials’ Emoluments – Afenifere Tells Tinubu

The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has asked President Bola Tinubu to seek debt relief for the country and also cut down on the emoluments of public officials.

This advice was contained in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi.

While quoting several sources, the group lamented the country’s debt burden, saying if not addressed, “very soon there may be no more funds for the provision of social services and infrastructure”.

“To prevent attendant possible social chaos in this respect, President Tinubu needs to embark on diplomatic shuttles to get debt forgiveness from our creditors,” the statement read in part.

“Doing so would certainly be herculean in view of a similar benefit we enjoyed under former President Olusegun Obasanjo circa 2005 but which we later mismanaged. But given the potential of Nigeria and the possibility of President Tinubu to convince everyone that his own administration is going to be different, it is possible that the creditors may listen to the plea.”

It, however, noted that reducing the emoluments of public officials is one of the ways to make such happen.

“For such a plea to succeed however, there is an urgent need to drastically cut down on the emolument of public officials, especially political office holders, block the holes through which public funds leak and wage a serious war against corrupt officers – presently in or out of office,” the group added.

“It is only by doing these three things that those we approach for debt forgiveness would listen to us.

“For instance, the National Assembly cornering N70 billion out of the N500 billion announced for palliatives is not only uncalled for, it demonstrated clearly how insensitive our elected officers are to the plight of average Nigerians. The President should prevail on them to rescind their decision in this regard.”

Afenifere also asked Tinubu to prevail on electricity distribution companies to stop their attempts to increase tariffs for now.

It argued that “there has been not much improvement in electricity supply to justify tariff increase. But more importantly, Nigerian masses are presently over-burdened with sundry taxes and high costs for services and commodities”.

“Similarly, recent hikes in school fees across the country should be rescinded so as to prevent more hardship for the people and higher number of school drop-outs,” Afenifere added.