President Bola Tinubu yesterday declared that Nigeria can’t continue as Father Christmas to neighbouring African countries by providing them subsidised petrol, adding that his administration took the right decision to remove the subsidy.
The President, who was speaking at an interactive session with select Nigerian traditional rulers, on the platform of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN), at the State House, Abuja, described the subsidy as an elephant that could have brought the country to its knees “because it is struggling to pay salaries.”
Tinubu told the traditional leaders: “I am grateful that you are paying attention to what I have been doing. You have paid attention to the subsidy removal. Why should we in good heart and sense, feed smugglers and be Father Christmas to neighbouring countries, even though they say not every day is Christmas?
“The elephant that was going to bring Nigeria to its knees is the subsidy; a country that cannot pay salaries. I think we did the right thing.”
The President appealed to the traditional leaders to persuade Nigerians to have faith in the removal of subsidy, promising that the pump prices of fuel will eventually come down.
On security, the President reiterated his pledge to Nigerians to prioritise the sector until every Nigerian “goes to sleep with their two eyes closed.”
He stressed that the unity and togetherness of the country cannot be compromised, saying every region of the country would get what it is due.
Condemning crude oil theft in the Niger Delta region “by a tiny percentage of the population,” President Tinubu said it was counterproductive to the growth of the economy.
He said: “We need to tame those involved in this sabotage and we will work as hard as possible to ensure that the diversity of this country is used for its prosperity, growth and stability.”
The President stressed that with the campaigns and elections over, he is primed for governance, and his government has already signed a law that extends the retirement age of judicial officers from 65 to 70 years, while also addressing pension reforms.
Also speaking on electricity, President Tinubu said a constitutional amendment signed into law now allows the nation’s 36 States to generate electricity.
He said: “That’s devolution of power and that should be our contribution to the developmental projects you are looking for and we will continue in ways that will help our people.” (ThisDay)