DON’T CRIMINALISE NIGERIANS PROTESTING HARSH LIVING CONDITIONS – LUKMAN TO TINUBU
A former National Vice Chairman, North-east of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Dr. Salihu Lukman, has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to submit to the temptation of criminalising the legitimate grievances of Nigerians protesting harsh living and economic conditions.
Recall that on Monday Nigerians protested in Minna, Niger State capital, and Kano against the increase in the cost of food and harsh economic conditions.
Lukman, in a statement issued on Wednesday titled, “Renewed Hope Exchanging for Renewed Anger”, said the protest called for urgent response by the government.
He noted that such response must, as a matter of necessity, address existing reality whereby prices of goods and services, especially food items are astronomically going up, almost on hourly basis.
The APC chieftain lamented that there are gory tales of Nigerians going to the same markets within short intervals of less than 24 hours encountering higher prices for the same quantity of products.
He stressed that these are predictable realities triggered by conscious decisions taken by the government of Tinubu.
Lukman stated: “How can we be talking of opposition sponsoring protests in the strongholds of the APC? Both Minna and Kano are strong holds of APC. In the case of Minna, Niger State, APC is the ruling party. Kano is the home state of Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the APC National Chairman.
“To suggest that any opposition party could mobilise citizens to protests, our government is already defeatist. The hard reality is that these protests are logical responses to the realities facing Nigerians. If these realities continue unattended to, these protests will spread like bush fire across every part of the country within a very short period,” he said.
Lukman added: “We must appeal to our leaders, especially President Asiwaju Tinubu not to submit to the temptation of criminalising the legitimate grievances of Nigerians.
“Under no circumstances must our leaders imagine that because they are today’s rulers, unacceptably harsh living conditions caused by clear policy choices of our government should be tolerated.
“These were the same issues we rose against under the military and during the tenure of PDP between 1999 and 2015. Perhaps, if the truth must be told, if it were during the tenure of former President Muhammadu Buhari, many would rationalise it given his military background.“But coming during the tenure of President Asiwaju Tinubu who was indisputably a committed democrat, makes it even more compelling for Nigerians to protest. Maybe it is only the loud protests of citizens that will compel President Asiwaju Tinubu to have more listening ears and opens his government for citizens to engage it and influence its policy directions.”