*Asks Buhari to suspend foreign trips for six months
A pro-democracy non-governmental organization -Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari suspend any further foreign trips for the next six months in order that he can declare and supervise the pragmatic implementation of a national state of emergency on the widening specter of poverty and fuel scarcity in Nigeria.
Making the call in a media statement jointly endorsed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said it has become increasingly necessary for the current government to realistically provide workable economic blueprints on how to revive small and medium scale enterprises in the Country.
That will be alongside designing and implementing practical measures to bring the productivity of the nation's crude oil refining facilities to optimization level to save Nigerians from the selfish dictates of unscrupulous elements within the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation that have frustrated all efforts to make Nigeria refineries to work for the Nigerian people.
HURIWA said the Nigerian Government must also organise a transparent participatory debates alongside the National Assembly so Nigerians can constructively express freely their opinion on the so-called subsidy for petroleum products and debate it's desirability or otherwise or how best to make petroleum products affordable and available for all especially the rural and urban poor and the poorly remunerated working class of Nigeria.
HURIWA said the incessant foreign engagements of President Muhammadu Buhari since assuming office over half a dozen months ago has made it near -impossible for the President to appreciate the enormity of the scale of mass poverty and sufferings bedeviling Nigerians especially the millions of impoverished families battling with unemployment, under- employment and excruciating and unprecedented high costs of living across board. HURIWA urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the ministers of Agriculture, trade and investments and Solid Minerals to be more proactive in jointly designing and implementing comprehensive measures to stimulate the participation of genuine finance institutions in providing soft credit facilities for small businesses to thrive.
HURIWA said the existing institutional framework such as the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Agency (SMEDAN) has failed abysmally to create the needed national momentum to develop sustainable and viable small businesses in Nigeria. HURIWA called on the President to reorganise and provide better leadership at the SMEDAN so it can deliver the desired goals.
On its call for the suspension of future foreign presidential trips the Rights group stated thus: "Mr. President must begin to delegate Nigerian Embassy officials in foreign jurisdictions to represent Nigeria at future international events so he can spearhead the implementation of a national state of emergency on fuel/electricity power scarcity and the expanding frontiers of absolute poverty in Nigeria. Nigeria will conserve lots of fund if Mr. President can stay at home and burn less aviation fuels flying around the World in the 12 exotic planes in the Nigerian Presidential fleets. Lavishing N2 Billion to service these planes in less than three months amounts to monumental waste of scarce resources at this time of spiraling inflationary trends and massive poverty".
HURIWA said the best approach to resolving the perennial fuel scarcity is to bring back the existing but near moribund refineries to a state of optimal functionality and to build newer and standardized types of refineries in Nigeria either through the public sector generated fund or by inviting genuine and trustworthy investors to erect and run their own refineries so the refining capacity of these facilities would be able to satisfy local demands and even serve the demands of other markets on the West coast of Africa and beyond.
The Rights group said President Muhammadu Buhari was wrong to abandon Nigerian motorists on long queues in fuel stations all around the country to jet out to Tehran the Iranian capital to attend the Gas summit that bears little or no relevance to our urgent economic needs as a country afflicted by the dwindling crude oil revenue from the International market.