Unmasking Unrest: Senate President Akpabio Challenges Origins of Street Protests Amid Economic Strain

In the midst of escalating street protests echoing the economic woes across Nigeria, Senate President Godswill Akpabio has raised eyebrows by suggesting that these demonstrations may not be entirely grassroots movements but instead fueled by external sponsors.

The protests, which have surged in cities like Ibadan, Niger, Kano, and Sokoto, serve as a vocal outlet for citizens grappling with the harsh realities of a soaring cost of living. The catalyst for this unrest stems from President Bola Tinubu’s bold decisions in 2023 to end the fuel subsidy and unify the exchange rate, actions that have contributed to the relentless rise in inflation rates.

The most recent protest, unfurling in the heart of Oyo State’s capital, Ibadan, on Monday, underscored the mounting discontent among the populace. Speaking candidly to the Senate on Tuesday, Akpabio emphasized that the protesters might not fully comprehend the substantial efforts being undertaken by both the Senate and the Federal Government to alleviate the prevailing economic challenges.

Akpabio addressed the Senate, stating, “You can see a lot of sponsored protests here and there, but those people are not aware — most of those sponsored protesters are not aware of the kind of efforts made by this Senate to tackle the situation together with the management team of the Federal Government.”

Adding a layer of context, he shared unverified reports suggesting that state governments recently received an additional N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to address food shortages, beyond their regular allocations. Akpabio urged every state government to judiciously use these funds to ensure food availability for their citizens.

Emphasizing the commitment of the national assembly to citizens’ welfare, Akpabio declared, “The national assembly will not approve anything that would not benefit the citizens.” As Nigeria grapples with both economic strain and civic unrest, the intricate dance between government actions, public perception, and the real impact on citizens takes center stage in the unfolding narrative.

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