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Shettima tells economic hardship protesters to behave responsibly

Protests have erupted in several parts of the country triggered by the prevailing economic hardship caused by Federal Government policies.

Kashim Shettima, Vice President of Nigeria [Reuters]

Vice President Kashim Shettima has urged Nigerians who are taking to the streets to protest the current economic challenges in the country to act responsibly and maturely while at it.

The removal of subsidies on petrol and floatation of the naira, among other policies of the President Bola Tinubu government, has sparked hyperinflation, and the attendant high food costs and general hardship are pushing many people to the edge.

Many Nigerians are struggling to keep up with daily increases in food prices, and there have been pockets of protests in different parts of the country against the development.

Admittedly, Shettima said these economic reforms and policy choices come with immediate challenges and difficulties, which has been more telling on the poor.

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He said this while speaking in Lagos at the 29th pre-Ramadan lecture organised by the University of Lagos Muslim Alumni on Sunday, March 3, 2024.

The Vice President, represented by his Special Adviser on Political Matters, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, also hinted that the forthcoming Ramadan would come with severe challenges for many Nigerians.

“The leadership of President Tinubu recognises that this Ramadan will come with severe challenges for most Nigerians. The road to where we are today was long and full of missed opportunities and tragic failures to build on our great potential.

“The consequences of our past are the stark realities we face today, such as rising cost of living and pessimism over our prospect to turn round our economy in the direction of growth and inclusive development.

“Yet, my brothers and sisters, we do not have the choice of continuing in the direction that brought us where we are today. We have to fix this country, and failure to do this is not an option.

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"All the options we have are difficult and challenging, and they are, without a doubt, more telling on the poor. If there are easier and reliable alternatives to the policy choices we have adopted, we would have adopted them.

“Our administration does not plan to make lives of Nigerians more difficult. Nor do we intend to deceive fellow citizens that the change in direction and the expected outcome can be achieved without pain or sacrifices.

“We are also acutely aware that ours is a set of related Nigerian problems, and the solutions we seek must be genuinely informed by a Nigerian context, not the experiences of others or the preferences of special foreign interests which are removed from consequences of missteps or errors of judgement.

“Fellow alumni, I appeal to you to help make space for our administration to achieve the goal of turning our nation around. As products of a distinguished institution, we have learnt that progress is only possible if it is informed by criticism and critical scrutiny.

"We expect that Nigerians should express their feelings over our circumstances in a responsible and mature manner. We are also a deeply religious people, and we believe in the powers of faith and prayers.

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"Let us be reminded that Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala tests His servants with ease and hardship, and He asks that we pray to Him for relief from hardship, and discipline in times of abundance.

“I join you in praying that Allah will grant us the privilege of undertaking our Ramadan fast as prescribed by Him, and we shall receive the reward,” Shettima said.

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