Nigerian activists on Saturday sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, saying that poverty in the land had reached an unbearable level for most people and the President must act.
With hundreds of thousands of jobs gone since Mr. Buhari assumed office last year promising better days to Nigerians and with the country officially in recession with a weak naira, high inflation and bombings in the oil rich Niger Delta, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP), said it had asked Mr. Buhari to “urgently take concrete measures to address and mitigate the negative effects of the economic recession and crisis on the poorest and most marginalized across the country.”
The letter dated 2 September 2016 by SERAP senior staff counsel Timothy Adewale expressed concern that “the economic crisis is having disproportionate impacts on the rights of the poorest and most marginalised, who are the most vulnerable because they already suffer from years of corruption, underdevelopment and abuse of power.”
The organisation asked President Buhari to “Urgently provide the socially and economically vulnerable with social protection programmes and safety-nets to protect them from severe poverty and deprivation”.
The activists asked Mr. Buhari to also “immediately drop the proposed 10 per cent tax on phone calls, text messages, data and more, as this would disproportionately affect the socially and economically vulnerable and push them deeper into poverty and deprivation.”
They said Mr. Buhari should “urgently propose legislation and constitutional amendment that would end the practice of budgeting billions of Naira as ‘security votes’ for the Federal Government and the 36 state governments, as the diversion of the funds has continued to undermine the ability of the government to provide essential goods and services across the country.”