Former Military Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, says an increase in the price of petrol will push more Nigerians into poverty.
Abubakar spoke at the 19th Daily Trust Dialogue in Abuja, on Thursday.
It is being speculated that the Federal Government might increase the price of petrol to N302 per litre in February if the recommendation of the adhoc committee of the National Economic Council (NEC) was implemented.
The recommendations were put forward by the NEC ad-hoc committee interfacing with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) on the appropriate pricing of petrol in Nigeria.
Earlier in October, Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said the Federal Government would only cater for subsidy on petrol in the first six months of 2022 as it planned to deregulate the downstream oil and gas sector.
The announcement stirred up reactions among Nigerians, with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) threatening to embark on strike if government goes ahead with the proposed plan.
However, commenting on the development, Abubakar said: “The expected fuel price increment will push more Nigerians into poverty.
“Over 80 million Nigerians are still cut off by poverty. Nigeria faces a food crisis worsened by the global COVID-19 pandemic.”
On the 2023 presidential election, the former head of state said regardless of the demands for zoning and challenges, Nigerians should unite and work together.
“Note that for the first time, southern governors are taking on their northern counterparts, each demanding the presidency to their regions,” he said.
“This election year calls for statesmanship and partnership to pull Nigeria out of the woods. Let us all remember that despite all the challenges and threats, Nigeria remains one. Our unity and large population are assets and strength.”
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2019 Poverty & Inequality in Nigeria, 82.9 million Nigerians are living in poverty.
Also in 2021, the World Bank said an estimated 7 million Nigerians might have been pushed into poverty in 2020 owing to the high inflation rate.