As the effect of covid-19 pandemic on global economy bites harder, Nigeria is not exempted, the economy hugely financed from sale of crude continues to face an unsustainable long-term fiscal decline based on the imbalance between paucity of revenue and large deficit spending. While this is the reality, both spending and revenue imbalance can get worse with unfettered corruption and poor fiscal policy decisions.
For many years, Nigerian workers, who are among the least paid in the world have suffered socio-economic hardships as the fixed stipends they receive as take home pay is hardly enough to take them home. While workers find it difficult to survive on this amount, some state governments have refused to comply with the payment of even the minimum wage. Worse is the prevailing state of insecurity which has instilled fear in people as lives are constantly under threats. In spite of these increasing spate of insecurity, the governments, rather than taking concrete step to address the root causes and arrest the situation posed by this ugly trend, have continued to patronize the criminals by negotiating with them. It has become a great cause for concern for many citizens and they wonder how long these conditions would remain?
Nigeria is daily becoming a theatre of violence with heightened cases of insecurity across the country recently. This has exacerbated challenges the country is finding difficult to tackle. The level of insecurity in Nigeria has mounted pressure on the political stability of the country, with sections of the country calling for secession.
By Lukas Nwachukwu
At present, Nigeria’s economy is at a crossroad, it is undergoing a severe economic crisis with unsustainable public debt profile, a dizzying double-digit rate of inflation, astronomical rise in unemployment rate. These have continued to cause considerable hardship for many Nigerians. The negative implications of these poor economic indices for Nigeria economy now appear to be incontestable.
By Lucas Nwachukwu
The failure of the Nigerian Government to provide electricity supply for both domestic and commercial consumption is attributed to the gross inefficiency of the sector and the profit-before-people drive (greed) of the sector’s players. This lackluster performance of the Nigeria power sector meant that some 40% of Nigerians lack access electricity supply. Electricity deficit in Nigeria, has continued to remain a major obstacle to human and socio-economic development of the country with far-reaching negative implications for the macro and micro economic sectors.
Administrations at the federal, state and local governments always come with new policies, developments and changes intended to showcase its performance in providing the dividends of democracy to the citizens. However, despite numerous infrastructure and development projects embarked upon by the federal, state and local governments areas (LGAs), Nigerian citizens have seen crumbling public infrastructures as successive administrations do not adequately maintain projects.
The administration Chief Barrister Ezenwo Nyesom Wike in Rivers State has embarked on several commendable infrastructure projects, especially in road construction. In the past months, the state has witnessed the commencement of three new flyovers in ObioAkpor and Port Harcourt City Local Government Areas (LGAs). These include the Oro Abali flyover (Garrison Junction), which has been completed and commissioned, the Okoro Nundo flyover (Rumuokoro), and the Artillery Flyover as part of other numerous urban renewal constructions ongoing in Rivers State.
Text of a Press Briefing by Social Action and Key Civil Society Organisations
Thursday, January 28, 2021
Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media, we have organised this briefing to call public attention to major flaws in the federal government’s proposals in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), and our concerns about the manner the National Assembly has managed the Public Hearings on the Bill. Like most Nigerians, we believe that a new set of laws are necessary to govern the petroleum industry in Nigeria. However, the PIB’s proposals, as it is, would promote environmental impunity in the oil industry and exacerbate social dislocation in the oil-bearing communities in the Niger Delta.
The State of the Nation
2020 has been a momentous year for Nigeria. First, the COVID-19 global pandemic further exposed the fragility of the country’s socio-political foundations. The state proved unable to respond to the needs of its citizens at a time of crisis. Secondly, the #EndSARS protests were the largest in the history of Nigeria. Youth-led mobilisations in Nigerian cities and globally expressed the outrage of the people against a failed system. The response of the Nigerian government to the popular and peaceful protests was reminiscent of the dark days of military dictatorship. We are, again witness to an escalation of state impunity and brazen disrespect for the rule of law and human rights in our country, as exemplified by the repression and attacks on #EndSARS protesters, the #Lekki killings, the Oyigbo massacre of civilians by men of the Nigerian military. The continuing trials and restrictions on the movement of Omoyele Sowore, and other activists and journalists, and fragrant disrespect and disregard for court orders and judicial pronouncements show shrinking civic and political spaces, which exacerbate a general state of insecurity and palpable tension in Nigeria at time of worsening social and economic conditions for most citizens.
More Nigerians are sinking into poverty than in any other country in the world. Almost one hundred million Nigerians are now living in extreme poverty even as the political elite and their cronies continue to profiteer from public resources. Over a million Nigerians are living in IDP camps as a result of violent conflicts. In the Boko Haram war in the northeast, incessant bandit killings in the northcentral, the Biafra secessionist agitations, kidnappings across the country, extrajudicial killings by men of the Nigerian Police, massive and ongoing corruption, enormous unemployment, we see overwhelming evidence of a Nigeria state in deep crisis.
Today, after more than twenty-one years of civil rule, more than ever, Nigeria is witnessing the worst period in its history with a glaring collapse of governance structures across the land. This, therefore, is a time for democracy defenders and concerned citizens to intervene to rescue Nigeria. The Conveners of the Nigeria Pro-Democracy Conference believe in the imperative of civic intervention of the Pan-Nigerian character reminiscent of the 1990s pro-democracy movement in the face of the current struggle for a better Nigeria. Enduring nation-states that work for their citizens are built through the conscious will and actions of individuals and groups who envision and act, at different moments, to instil alternative national ethos and practices.
The Nigeria Pro-Democracy Conference, 2020
The Nigeria Pro-Democracy Conference is an annual event that brings together veterans of the pro-democracy movement and younger activists and serves as a platform for inter-generational dialogue. The Nigeria Pro-Democracy Conference, 2020 will enable pro-democracy activists, social justice advocates and organic scholars to examine the democratic practices in Nigeria since 1999 in the light of recent repression of the #EndSARS protest and, and to discuss options for sustaining the popular democratic movement in the country.
By Joy Bitrus Ashalva, Project Officer, Social Action
Maimuna Dahiru is a 35-year-old woman originally from Baga, in Kukawa Local Government Area (LGA) of Borno State in North-Eastern Nigeria. A mother of eight children, including five girls and three boys, Maimuna and her family fled when Boko Haram insurgents attacked Baga town in December, 2018. Since 2013, particularly in 2015, Boko Haram fighters have raided Baga and surrounding villages, killing thousands of people and burning homes and public buildings. Given the fluid security situation, people sometimes return to their community after periods of calm only for the insurgents to strike again.
As Nigeria marked its 60th Independence Anniversary on October 1 this year, the Civil Rights Council (CRC) established by Social Development Integrated Centre, SOCIAL ACTION, commemorated the nation’s history with a protest march to draw attention to the surreptitious hike in fuel price and electricity tariffs across the country. It will be recalled that the Nigerian economy experienced a decline, following the COVID-19 lockdown, and many Nigerians faced biting hardship as a result. Amidst these occurrences, the Federal Government suddenly announced an increment in tariff of essential commodities such as Electricity and Premium Motor Spirit (PMS). The inflation in the cost of these commodities had negative impacts on other essential services and inevitably increased daily cost of living. This generated reactions from organized labour and Civil Society groups in Nigeria, leading to a national debate and call for mass action in the country. CRC galvanized its structures to participate in this national debate and to initiate a mass protest on the Nation’s Independence Day Anniversary.