….Asks pro-democracy leaders to

rise up 

By Lukman Olabiyi

Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), and Chair, Interim Chair, Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB), Femi Falana has called on leading human and pro-democracy groups in Nigeria to rise to the challenge of providing leadership for Nigerians and channel the peoples protest towards a purposeful end.

In a statement titled: “Time to end currency and fuel crisis”, Falana berated the Federal government for unleashing untold hardship on Nigerians using scarcity of fuel and the new currency.

The statement reads in part:”the Federal Government has unleashed untold hardship on the masses of Nigeria by the unprecedented scarcity of the Naira, fuel scarcity and skyrocketing rise in fuel prices. Fuel and currency scarcity is inexplicable and unacceptable. The Federal Government has shirked its obligation to guarantee the security and welfare of the Nigerian people as provided under Section 14(2)(b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended”.

The senior lawyer called prosecution of officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other banks allegedly involved in hoarding or selling the new currency notes, to serve as a deterrent to other economic saboteurs.

He also called for the prosecution of the soldiers who unleashed violence on the students of the University of Benin as well as trigger happy troops who murdered a young man and injured several others at Ibadan, Oyo State.

 On artificial fuel scarcity, Falana said based on the statement of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd), that it has two billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), stated that the current scarcity of the product was an attempt to force Nigerians to accept the increase in the pump price of PMS.

On way forward, the rights activist, said if President Muhammadu Buhari didn’t address the current crisis it would have no choice than to mobilize Nigerians for peaceful protest.

“The currency and fuel crises constitute unprecedented challenge to economic survival of ordinary people that may threaten the 2023 elections which provide an opportunity for the people to choose a party considered to be representative of their aspirations.

“Unless the twin crises of fuel and currency scarcity are immediately resolved within the timeline given by the President, ASCAB has resolved to call on the Nigerian people to commence series of peaceful mass actions in their communities to resist the unjustifiable economic hardship which may compel postponement of the forthcoming elections as INEC has hinted.

If the Federal Government fails to resolve the twin crises of fuel and currency scarcity before February 10, 2023 the country will witness nationwide peaceful mass actions by the Nigerian people”, he said .