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Cost of living: Nigerians groan, set agenda for Tinubu

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Six months into the administration of President Bola Tinubu, the cost of living in Nigeria has experienced a significant and alarming rise. President Tinubu’s removal of the subsidy has exacerbated the existing hardship for many Nigerians, leading to increased challenges in their daily lives. According to the World Bank, the poverty rate in Nigeria surged to 46 percent in 2023, affecting 104 million individuals.

Inflation rates also witnessed a sharp increase, reaching 27.33% in October 2023 and 28.20% in November, as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). This inflation had a substantial impact on household spending. The rise in food inflation on a year-on-year basis was attributed to increases in the prices of various food items, including oil and fat, bread and cereals, fish, potatoes, yam, fruits, meat, vegetables, milk, cheese, and eggs.

A review of foodstuff prices in Nigeria by DAILY POST in January revealed soaring costs. For instance, a 50kg bag of rice ranged from N45,000 to N60,000, while beans cost between N60,000 and N70,000 for a similar quantity. Yam prices varied from N800 to N3000 per tuber. Noodle prices, depending on the brand and size, ranged from N7000 to N9000. Garri, a staple made from cassava, was sold between N30,000 and N40,000 per 50kg bag. Potatoes in a 25kg bag cost between N6,000 and N9,000, and a 12-pack of spaghetti was priced at N13,000.

These surges in food commodity prices have raised serious concerns among Nigerians. Despite assurances from President Tinubu and his team regarding their capability to address the situation, many citizens feel that the expected improvements are taking longer than anticipated.

Residents expressed their concerns, linking the rising cost of petrol to the challenges faced by the masses. Some suggested that a review of the minimum wage for civil servants should be considered. Others emphasized that addressing insecurity is crucial, especially ensuring farmers can work without fear, facilitating the transportation of produce from farms to markets.

Mr. Abdul Sani expressed frustration, stating that he doesn’t see any hope, and the continuous rise of the dollar is contributing to escalating prices of essential goods. Some voiced skepticism about the effectiveness of government interventions, citing corruption as a hindrance.

Economic expert Dr. Ayo Teriba emphasized the need to stabilize the foreign exchange market to promote economic growth and competitiveness. He highlighted the negative impact of exchange rate volatility on business decisions, inflation, and living standards. Teriba suggested that addressing the exchange rate volatility is crucial for achieving sustainable growth and mitigating the adverse effects of reforms on living costs.

While acknowledging the challenges, he noted that the direction of the 2024 budget indicates that the government is making adequate provisions to address the impact of its reforms on living costs.

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PHOTO: Gov Makinde Host Nigeria Police Games

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1: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) and Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

2: From left, Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Barr Bayo Lawal; Governor Seyi Makinde; Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun and his wife Elizabeth, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

3: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) take a salute from the Police Mascots, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

CREDIT: Oyo Gov Media 

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Economic crisis: Find more ways to improve your IGR – President Tinubu to universities

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The Nigerian government has called upon universities in the country to broaden their sources of funding amidst economic challenges. President Bola Ahmad Tinubu made this assertion during the 6th & 7th combined convocation ceremony of Federal University, Dutse, which took place on Saturday.

Speaking through Professor Kabir Bala, the Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who represented him at the event, President Tinubu stressed the government’s dedication to facilitating a conducive environment for universities despite resource limitations.

He urged universities to actively explore alternative funding channels, underlining the significance of self-reliance in the prevailing economic circumstances. The President also encouraged universities to seek international funding opportunities for research, advocating for collaborations and the attraction of funds from global sources.

President Tinubu emphasized that government alone cannot shoulder the financial burden of universities, particularly amid economic challenges and competing demands from various sectors. Nonetheless, he reiterated the administration’s commitment to providing the necessary support within the available resources to ensure universities function as pillars of educational advancement and national development.

He further urged universities to pursue innovative strategies for generating revenue and to tap into international research funding opportunities. He assured that his administration remains dedicated to supporting universities in achieving their objectives as outlined in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

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Contempt threat against NLC, TUC leaders over public protest uncalled for – Femi Falana replies FG

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Human rights advocate and constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana, has clarified that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have every right to organize the nationwide public protest scheduled for February 27 and 28, asserting that it does not constitute contempt of court.

As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Falana emphasized that Nigerian workers are entitled to freedom of assembly and expression as enshrined in the country’s Constitution. He urged the federal government, in a strongly worded letter to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, to ensure maximum security for the workers and to participate in the protest.

In response to the AGF’s threat of contempt charges against the NLC and TUC leaders, Falana’s letter dated February 24 countered the threat, arguing that it lacked legal basis.

Falana pointed out the history of negotiations between the government and the labor unions following the removal of fuel subsidy in 2023, which resulted in court orders restraining the unions from striking. Despite compliance with these orders, the unions challenged them, and the contempt proceedings initiated by the government were subsequently withdrawn.

He highlighted subsequent legal actions initiated by the government against the unions, noting that these actions were contested by the unions on grounds of abuse of court process and lack of jurisdiction. Falana emphasized that since the contempt proceedings were withdrawn, there is no basis for the government’s threat of contempt charges regarding the planned protest.

He cited legal precedents affirming citizens’ rights to protest on matters of public interest without the need for police permits, emphasizing the democratic importance of freedom of speech and assembly.

Falana urged the government to respect these fundamental rights and directed the Inspector-General of Police to provide adequate security for the protesters in accordance with the Police Establishment Act.

In conclusion, he called on the government to reconsider its stance and assured that the protests would be conducted peacefully.

The federal government had previously warned of invoking relevant laws to charge the NLC leadership with contempt if the protest proceeds, citing it as a breach of agreement and a challenge to the court’s authority. The AGF, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, conveyed this warning in a letter to Falana, urging the NLC to abandon the protest to avoid violating the court’s order.

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