by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has raised its voice that, the reports of arrest of Nigerians protesting recent hike in price of patrol and electricity tariffs in parts of the country, “is the highest display of insensitivity to the plight of suffering citizens.”
CNPP also described the news reports that some citizens, including journalists, were being hounded into detention by the police due to the protests as insensitive, saying, only draconian government in desperate move to hide its regime atrocities could go that low.
The CNPP, in a reaction statement signed by its Secretary-General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, on Thursday advised President Muhammadu Buhari to allow citizens to freely express their displeasure over government policies.
“That is the only way the government can understand the pains the masses have been bearing all these 5 years with hope that their lives would be better but have gotten worse.
“How on earth will you send armed policemen to forcefully disperse protesting members of the public, who are already in agony over COVID-19 lockdown-induced economic hardships?” Chief Ezugwu queried.
According to CNPP, “Even though, there have been unprecedented hunger in the land since the last 5 years as a result of complicated Nigeria’s economic woes, the lack of adequate COVID-19 palliatives for citizens is painful enough.
“But now, arresting these suffering masses, who are merely telling the government that their pain is getting too much, is insensitivity taken too far.
“The overzealousness of the security agencies could not allow them to distinguish between journalists carrying out their constitutional assignments from the protesting citizens exercising their legitimate rights.
“It is only a draconian government, which is desperate to hide its regime atrocities that can go this low.
“President Muhammadu Buhari administration, which should owe Nigerians enough gratitude for keeping faith and bearing the continued maladministration brought upon them by many selfish appointees, is now adding salt to their painful injuries.
“First, the government increased pump price of patrol, from N87 to N145 per litre, then it increased Value Added Tax (VAT) against all protests, from 5% to 7.5%, leading to hike in the prices of food and other commodities in the market. At the same time came to the novel coronavirus and the attendant national and international lockdown.
“While governments across the globe are providing palliatives for citizens, businesses and many sectors of their economy to cushion the hardship occasioned by the COVID-19 lockdown, the Nigerian government, which claims to have spent over N30 billion in less than three months to fight COVID-19, is increasing fuel price and electricity tariffs simultaneously.
“No sensitive government does that. And to take the insensitivity to the highest new level, the government is arresting citizens for voicing out against the increment in fuel price and electricity tariff,” the parties lamented.