Mr Chyna Anthony, a senatorial aspirant of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) for Imo East Senatorial district, has lashed out at the federal government over the deaths caused by an explosion at an illegal refinery in Abaezi, Ohaji Egbema, Imo State.
While speaking to journalists in Imo on Saturday, the party’s leader blamed the federal government for the trend of poor Nigerians engaging in illegal activities to survive, such as operating illegal refineries across the Niger Delta and other oil-producing states.
Anthony claimed that the federal government’s annual expenditure of 4 trillion Naira on fuel subsidies is fraudulent and a catalyst for mass poverty.
He expressed his displeasure with the incident, lamenting the economy’s poor handling over the last seven years, alleging that it has left Nigeria heavily burdened by poverty, hunger, and criminality.
“I feel compelled to call on the federal government to establish a real system, one that will look after the people’s economic and social needs.”
“If our refineries stop working, they can be resurrected or sold for management.” In a situation where the National Assembly has approved a fuel subsidy of 4 trillion naira, it is disheartening and the worst economic crime ever committed.
“Who is deceiving who if you spend 4 trillion Naira on a one-year fuel subsidy when Dangote refinery costs 4.1 trillion Naira? Why should that be in Nigeria?” That’s a sign of a lack of responsibility.
“Both economically and in terms of security, the federal government has failed to protect the people,” he said.
“The government should eliminate all subsidies; it’s the same thing we’ve been hearing every day, and no one has been able to fully explain how this works.” Imagine what 4 trillion Naira will buy in terms of modular refineries and industries for this country.”
He went on to say that if the Nigerian government provided jobs for its citizens, there would be no need for illegal refineries, and that security agencies such as the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) should have detected such illegal activities first.
Anthony advised the federal government to plan ahead rather than react, and to construct modular refineries to employ the people of Imo State.
“We cannot have a system where poverty is killing people; we have bandits; people are hungry; look at the streets; people are begging for money, including three-and-a-half-year-olds, but if we take care of them, we will have solved the majority of the problem,” he said.