What I wish #OccupyNigeria is asking for – By Myne Whitman

Last year, while the public townhall meetings were still going on and we did not know the subsidy removal had been pegged for the New Year, I expressed my support of the removal or restructuring of the subsidy regime. Things have long progressed beyond that stage, and currently #occupyNigeria protests are the order of the day. I support Nigerians to protest on what matters to them, but I did not join the protests because I did not see any tangible demands being made except to reverse the subsidy removal.

For me, this is not acceptable as it is tantamount to keeping the status quo that has been killing millions of Nigerians for the past 50 years. Yesterday, a friend of mine, Ayo Akinfe, came out with the following demands on Facebook. This is the most comprehensive list of what ails Nigeria today. The system is bloated, inefficient, ignorant of their role, and above all corrupt. The subsidy regime was like a sleeping pill to Nigerians and we need to wake up and grow up. We need to recreate our social contract by paying to make our country work so that we can hold our government accountable.

I urge everyone to read this and pass it on.

20 demands that must be met before we call off our fight by Ayo Akinfe

[1] We call for the immediate resignation of oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke. Her position has become untenable as she has shown no interest whatsoever in protecting or advancing the cause of the petrol-buying public. She has been compromised by her interests in the oil industry, which has effectively made her a representative of big business.

[2] We demand a commitment to get our four oil refineries fully functional within 12 months so they can operate at their maximum capacity of 445,000 barrels a day. Have it as a long term goal that petrol and diesel production should always exceed demand by about 10%. This way, you have an in-built mechanism to avert scarcity and shortages.

[3] Open up the petroleum market to competition so that private refineries can augment this under the plan to bring total domestic refining to 1m barrels a day. This should be done through the offering of incentives and enticements to anyone willing to build a refinery in Nigeria. Encourage anyone wiling to do so with tax holidays, land leases and security under the condition that they provide employment. Scrap the programme of offering licences to certain companies to import petroleum products. All it does is create a cabal of price fixers. Place such a heavy tax on petrol refined abroad that it is no longer economical for the cabal running the racket to keep doing it.

[4] Set up a special fund within the NNPC, so that about 10% of its revenue is set aside for infrastructure development, maintenance and capital investments. This way, shutdowns are avoided, facilities are maintained and expansion can be introduced as necessary.

[5] Have a four-year programme to build six regional gas-fired power stations, so gas can be used to generate electricity. Under this programme, establish a gas-based national electricity grid to augment PHCN. It should run in parallel to it.

[6] The national minimum wage should be increased to N30,000 immediately to cope with the sudden surge in inflation.

[7] Create a powerful office of oil ombudsman to deal with matters such as hoarding, price fixing and creating artificial scarcity. It should be empowered to impose heavy fines on offenders.

[8] Parliamentarians must take a 50% cut in their salaries and allowances. This money must be diverted towards paying the new national minimum wage.

[9] Ultimately, float the NNPC on the Lagos and either the London or New York Stock Exchange. Let it operate as a private concern that can match and rival the large oil companies. Its activities should be vertically integrated, so it manages the entire process from extraction to retailing via petrol stations. The Nigerian government should maintain something like a 20% stake in it.

[10] We want the immediate arrest and prosecution of those “big men” sponsoring Boko Haram. The government says it knows them, so they must be brought before the courts and made to face the maximum punishment.

[11] We want a doubling of the number of policemen across the country to provide enhanced security, particularly across northern Nigeria where ethnic and religious attacks are now the order of the day. In addition, policemen should be given an enhanced remuneration package so they are no longer susceptible to bribery.

[12] The National Assembly must repeal its Draconian and unjust law recently passed against lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgenic people that makes them face 14-year jail terms just for who they are. Not even the most corrupt public officers like Bode George, Tafa Balogun and James Ibori have been sentenced to four years imprisonment. Sentencing people to jail just because they have a different sexual orientation is a fundamental breach of human rights.

[13] We want to see the EFCC given new powers involving the establishment of special courts, a doubling of its budget, an increment in its staffing levels and it being allowed to keep 10% of the proceeds of crime. This will enable it step up the fight against corruption that has now reached epidemic levels in our public life.

[14] We want the establishment of a neutral body made up of civil society groups and organized labour to review government expenditure. At the moment, government profligacy, squandermania and ostentation is an insult to the Nigerian people. While we live on less than $2 a day, our rulers spend millions on gardening, newspaper, refreshment, etc.

[15] We want to see an immediate end to the current fiscal arrangement in the country that fuels and promotes corruption. Under the federal allocation structure, state and local governments receive money from Abuja and squander it as they see fit. Every state must be made to generate and account for its own revenue in a return to the fiscal formula agreed by our founding fathers in 1958. There should be local organizations put in place to monitor this and ensure that monthly revenue and expenditure figures are published

[16] The government must give us a firm commitment that generated electricity will be increased to 10,000MW by 2015. Three years is enough to build four or five regional gas-fired power plants that can meet this demand.

[17] We want to see the number of government ministers and special advisers cut by a third. This over-bloated bureaucracy is nothing but a drain on our national resources

[18] We want to see the immediate commencement of a Niger Delta restoration plan that will see the area converted from a derelict backwater of neglect into an industrial hub based around maritime industries such as ship-building, ship-breaking, wicker manufacturing and the restoration of marine wildlife.

[19] We demand the immediate introduction of the once proposed high-speed railway network across the country. One of the reason why petrol is so costly and why there are so many accidents on our roads is because of our over-dependence on road transport. Everywhere else in the world, governments are promoting rail transport as an alternative to the motor car. For starters, it is more environmentally friendly.

[20] We demand the immediate prosecution of these 20 or so oil marketers who were benefiting from the $7bn a year subsidy regime. It clear they were not providing any service for these large sums they were pocketing, so their activities are nothing but blatant theft and corruption.

 

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Author’s Blog: www.mynewhitmanwrites.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Myne.Whitman
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Myne_Whitman
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8 Comments

  • Myne, your article is instructive. But I must point out that in the debates that led to this point before the FG went on its own journey, much of these were pointed out. I commend Ayo for capturing them and properly numbering the demands. The protester screaming reversal to N65 are saying that before any new discussions can be entered into, there must be a reversal to N65. That is intended to be some symbolic victory for the protesters and commitment to dialogue on the part of government. So, it is not entirely true that those demands are not being made. Read some of them on 65naira.blogspot.com.

  • The demands are good, cept 4 #12, am not cut out to promote d pratiz gay homosexual lesbianism etc. If sum1 mkes it a point of protex, then i shal protex on them. The Bible and Quaran forbids it, itz alien and evil to the nigerian culture, social norms and value. Tomorow wat u promote is goin to be wat? Man and animal sex? I gex not.

  • yes 2 ol and dat’s mostly d factors dat need 2 be adressed so as 2 effactuate our crawling nation..but underline ur item 12,.dis can never be considered here because we are African,.there lots more dan dat need perfection but 4 dat not jst me..only few wil suport it!

  • Help! Someone is trying to hijack this popular strike by sneaking in evil demands. Personally I would not join in any protest that supports lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgenic behaviour in Nigeria. Sodom and Gomorrah were wiped off the map for this same reason. I do not want my country to suffer the same fate.

  • I supot ur ideas exept d no 12 which is absolutely eror&against natural sexual balance system.let us cancel irrelevant offices lk senatorials&reps.let fight against ethnicity imbalances,more strongly religious illegal criticism.let awake patriot 9jans to build 1 peaceful,strong,united,ethnical&religiously balance 9ja.ALLAH BLESS 9ja

  • Politicians steal more dan millions of naira bt al dey get is less dan 4 yrs in prison. Y Shuld dey sentence sumbodi 4 its belief 2 14 yrs just 4 exercising their belief. Doe I dnt support it 1 bit bt if u make it a criminal offence it Shuld b more lenient.

  • actually… read the bible. Sodom and Gomorrah were sentenced to destruction before the two male angels were sent to the area because the cities had failed to show hospitality to strangers; gays had nothing to do with Sodom and Gomorrah because no city is made up entirely of gays. Look around.. the rapes of men and women across Africa is perpetuated by heterosexual males who think they have a right to humiliate everyone and anyone by raping them.

  • What has gay, bisexual or transgenic relationships got 2 do wit d way 4ward 4 9ja. On my part those involved in such evils shld be castrated. Could Ayo Akinfe tell his parents when he was younger dat he was in2 such relatnship. Sexual perverts!

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