The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno has been urged to include civil society organizations (CSOs) in the yet-to-be-set-up committee for the distribution of palliatives to ameliorate hardship caused by the masses by the fuel subsidy removal by President Bola Tinubu.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Center for Human Rights and Accountability Network (CHRAN), and signed by its Director and Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Mr Franklyn Isong and Mr Vincent Aluu, respectively, in Uyo, on Friday, August 4, 2023.
The CHRAN lauded the governor for having empathy for the Akwa Ibom masses by coming out to address the Nigerian Labour Congress organized a nationwide protest against the fuel subsidy removal and other anti-people policies of the Federal government of Nigeria on Wednesday, August 2, 2023.
The rights group expressed fears that excluding the civil society groups from the palliatives distribution committee might lead to the hijack of the materials by politicians as it was done to the COVID-19 palliatives, saying that the COVID-19 palliatives did not get to the poor masses because the political class hijacked them and kept in their homes and warehouses at the detriment of the masses which later resulted into the unfortunate violent protest nationwide, Akwa Ibom State inclusive.
The CHRAN commended the Governor for being responsive to the demands of the workers and for promising to include the labour leaders in the palliatives committee but noted that while the labour leaders represent the interest of workers in public service, the civil society groups will represent and protect the interest of the Akwa Ibom masses who are not in the employ of the State government but, are worst hit by the adverse effect of the fuel subsidy removal and incessant pump price increases.
The pro-democracy group also applauded Governor Eno for announcing the approval of N1b for payment of gratuities of retired primary school teachers and another N800m for payment of arrears of leave grants of workers, which he promised, will be incorporated into monthly salaries for prompt payments.