CHAIRMAN, Senate Committee on Special Duties, Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf, APC, Taraba Central has lamented that based on realities on ground, the country may not be able to sustain the N5billion it was spending on the 2.7million people in IDPs camps.
According to him, with the parlous state of the Nigerian economy, Nigeria as a country has no financial strength to subsidize petrol any longer and even sustain the monthly N5billion it spends on internally displaced persons ( IDPs) across the affected states.
Painting a gloomy picture of the Nation’s economy as it is presently, Yusuf in an interview with journalists in Abuja, justified the recent fuel price increase as well as that of electricity tariff, just as he stressed that what has happened to the fuel price was long-anticipated after many years of manipulations.
He said, ” We all know that in an economy, we have the product side, the financial side and the labour side. We started this long ago but it is now the economy is restructuring itself.
” We try to manipulate the restructuring of the economy over a period of time since the time of the structural adjustment programme.
“One way or the other, we manipulate, we put a lot of sentiment into it. The real effect is now staring us on our face. So, what do we do? what is the reality on the ground?
” Government has no money to subsidize the pump price of the petroleum product. All is because of the value of the Naira.
“The dollar price of our imported products has not changed much. What has changed much is the value of the Naira vis-a-vis the dollar. Until we get the realistic value of our currency, we may not be able to sort out this problem. We must also change our attitudes. Every Nigerian has to accept the fact that things much change for better”, he said.
On Electricity tariff hike, Senator Yusuf who noted that it was a challenging period that must be endured by all, said, ” all of us must accept the fact that this change will come one day. Officially, we will sit down and look at it probably differently but in my personal opinion, this change has come, and we must accept the fact that it has come.”
According to him, no amount of resources can sustain or take care of Palliatives needed by people in the camps, than for government to fast track their locations back to their various natural habitats, adding that relocating them back to their various towns and villages without further delay is the best as according to him, it will help to diffuse the time bomb symbolised by orphans among them.
Senator Yusuf said, What we should do is to work together, accept the fact that security is important, the security agents should be given enough courage because the government is doing its own best but the security agencies, though they are trying, their best is not enough.
“The people in the IDP camps want to go back to their homes, and there is no reason why they shouldn’t go back.
“We cannot continue to believe that the IDP syndrome should continue. We must exit it at one time or the other. It is a sad thing. There are children who are orphans in all respect and most of them are below the age of 18. It’s a time bomb waiting to explode.
“We cannot sustain spending about N5 billion Naira a month to take care of these people. What we will do is to put our hands on deck and make sure that security is provided for them to go back to their homes, so that we can reduce the mounting pressure on our resources to take care of the IDPs”.