Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu has justified his decision to remove the subsidy on petrol, saying it was an unsustainable burden that could have crippled the country. He also said Nigeria should not subsidise fuel for neighbouring countries that benefit from smuggling.
Tinubu made these remarks at a meeting with the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) at Aso Rock on Friday. He said he was grateful that the traditional rulers were paying attention to what he was doing and supporting his government.
He described the subsidy as an elephant that was consuming Nigeria’s resources and preventing it from paying salaries and developing other sectors. He said he took the right decision by removing it and allowing market forces to determine the price of petrol.
“Why should we in good heart and sense, feed smugglers and be Father Christmas to neighbouring countries, even though they say not everyday is Christmas?” Tinubu asked.
“The elephant that was going to bring Nigeria to its knees is the subsidy. A country that cannot pay salaries and we say we have potential to encourage ourselves. I think we did the right thing,” he added.
Tinubu, who was sworn in as president on May 29 after winning the February election with 37% of the votes, said he was ready to listen to counsel and promised an open-door policy. He also said he would unite the nation and work for its progress.
“We are all ears. We are ready to listen at any given time. I promise you an open-door policy and that is the way I will go. That open-door policy is for you to call me and send to me at any given time any concern that you might have,” he said.
“We may not have it right 100 percent of the time but we must get it right 90 percent of the time for this country,” he added.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Saad Abubakar, who spoke on behalf of the traditional rulers, said they were 100% in support of Tinubu’s administration and believed he would move the country forward.
He said, “We are 100 percent in support of your government and we believe in the will of the Almighty Allah you will move this country forward,”.
He also urged Tinubu to tackle the challenges facing Nigeria, such as insecurity, poverty, corruption and unemployment. He said the traditional rulers were ready to partner with him in finding solutions to these problems.
He said, “We are here today to assure you of our total support and cooperation in whatever way you want us to assist you in moving this country forward,”.