Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has described as insensitive the arrest of some Nigerians protesting the recent hike in the price of petrol and electricity tariffs.
CNPP General Secretary, Chief Willy Ezugwu, in a statement on Thursday advised President Muhammadu Buhari to “allow citizens to freely express their displeasure over government policies.
“That is the only way the government can understand the pains the masses have been bearing all these 5 years with the hope that their lives would be better but have gotten worse.
“How on earth will you send armed policemen to forcefully dispersed protesting members of the public, who are already in agony over COVID-19 lockdown induced economic hardships?
“Even though there has been unprecedented hunger in the land since the last five years as a result of complicated Nigeria’s economic woes, the lack of adequate COVID-19 palliatives for citizens was painful enough but now arresting these suffering masses who are merely telling the government that their pain is getting too much is insensitivity taken too far.
“The overzealousness of the security agencies could not allow them to distinguish between journalists carrying out their constitutional assignments from the protesting citizens exercising their legitimate rights.
“It is only a draconian government, which is desperate to hide its regime atrocities that can go this low.”
He added: “While governments across the globe are providing palliatives for citizens, businesses and many sectors of their economy to cushion the hardship occasioned by the COVID-19 lockdown, the Nigerian government which claims to have spent over N30 billion in less than three months to fight COVID-19 is increasing fuel price and electricity tariffs simultaneously.
“No sensitive government does that. And to take the insensitivity to the highest new level, the government is arresting citizens for voicing out against the increment in fuel price and electricity tariff.”