PRESS STATEMENT: ON THE REMOVAL OF FUEL SUBSIDY BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN AUTHORS
REMOVAL OF FUEL SUBSIDY BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
JANUARY 4, 2012
Following the Federal Government announcement of the removal of fuel subsidy at a time when discussions on its viability or otherwise have barely been exhausted, the Association of Nigerian Authors feels compelled to contribute to the issue in the hope that the quality of its observations will be taken as constructive criticism for the betterment of the lot of the Nigerian people.
It is clear that Nigerians who are the purported beneficiaries of the exercise have expressed fear not only on the implementation strategies but also on the genuine realization of the expected development of the critical infrastructure of the country. Their concerns, which are built on previous failures of past leadership, are genuine and valid. We note that at times, certain decisions, however unpopular, are taken by government on behalf of the people who entrusted in them the power to act for the country on both its internal and external affairs. However, at all times, both leaders and the citizenry must be seen to have exhausted alternative avenues for peaceful resolution in avoidance of unnecessary conflicts and hardships. As a body, our concern is the potential this action has on education, literacy and book development initiatives in the country.
As writers, authors and intellectuals who have had to contend with the lack of accessibility to publishing infrastructure due to years of neglect, this subsidy removal may be counter-productive to the development of creative writing in the country. We note that in the list of palliatives designed for the subsidy removal utilisation plan, nothing addresses book development. We contend that a society bereft of idea-generation and documentation is a society receding into underdevelopment. We hereby urge government to define the strategies and institute structures that will include a clear direction for book development and a conducive literary culture in the larger interest of Nigerians.
We, the National Executive Council of the Association of Nigerian Authors hereby call on the Federal Government to reopen discussions with the Nigerian people by immediately reversing its removal of fuel subsidy until such a time when all parties have exhausted negotiations and agreed on this very sensitive matter. We urge the Federal Government to listen to the majority voice of well-meaning Nigerians as a way out of the current impasse. The Association of Nigerian Authors also calls on the youth and our members to avoid being exploited to foment trouble, and to refrain from actions that will further complicate the general security of the country.
Professor Remi Raji-Oyelade (President)
B. M. Dzukogi (General Secretary)