call me Mara.

Absolutely lonely
Absolutely lost
Seeking redemption
But just for wrong
In all the empty places
In all of the ruin and reek.
For redress for my heart
Or the one I’ve lost so hard
For peace to fill the chasm
The gnaw of desolation
Make the crooked places straight
A smile for bitter tears.
So often a seeking
So often the trail of disappointment

There is hope for tomorrow
There is life
We shall live it
We hope to wake tomorrow
To start a journey anew.


broadcast by the president of the federal republic of Nigeria 16th January 2012-fuel subsidy removal.

Courtesy of Sahara reporters

On Monday, January 16, 2012
Presidential Address On The  Implementation Of The Deregulation Policy In The Downstream Sector Of The Petroleum Industry, Sunday, January 15, 2012
Dear Compatriots,
1.    This is the second time in two weeks I will address you on the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector. In the last seven days, the nation has witnessed a disruption of economic activities.  Although, the economic imperatives for the policy have been well articulated by government, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) went ahead to declare a nationwide strike.
2.    There was also near-breakdown of law and order in certain parts of the country as a result of the activities of some persons or groups of persons who took advantage of the situation to further their narrow interests by engaging in acts of intimidation, harassment and outright subversion of the Nigerian state. I express my sympathy to those who were adversely affected by the protests.

3.    At the inception of the deregulation policy, Government had set up the Justice Alfa Belgore Committee to liaise with Labour and other stakeholders to address likely grey areas in the policy, but despite all our efforts, Labour refused the option of dialogue and also disobeyed a restraining order of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria.
4.    However, following the intervention of the Leadership of the National Assembly, and other well-meaning Nigerians, Labour accepted to meet with government, but this yielded no tangible result.
5.    It has become clear to government and all well-meaning Nigerians that other interests beyond the implementation of the deregulation policy have hijacked the protest. This has prevented an objective assessment and consideration of all the contending issues for which dialogue was initiated by government. These same interests seek to promote discord, anarchy, and insecurity to the detriment of public peace.
6.    Government appreciates that the implementation of the deregulation policy would cause initial hardships and commends Nigerians who have put forth suggestions and credible alternatives in this regard. Government also salutes Nigerians who by and large, conducted themselves peacefully while expressing their grievances. Let me assure you that government will continue to respect the people’s right to express themselves within the confines of the law and in accordance with the dictates of our democratic space.
7.    Government will continue to pursue full deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector. However, given the hardships being suffered by Nigerians, and after due consideration and consultations with state governors and the leadership of the National Assembly, government has approved the reduction of the pump price of petrol to N97 per litre. The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has been directed to ensure compliance with this new pump price.
8.    Government is working hard to reduce recurrent expenditure in line with current realities and to cut down on the cost of governance. In the meantime, government has commenced the implementation of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment projects: including the Federal Government- assisted mass transit programme which is already in place, and job creation for the youth. 
9.     Furthermore, the legal and regulatory regime for the petroleum industry will be reviewed to address accountability issues and current lapses in the Industry. In this regard, the Petroleum Industry Bill will be given accelerated attention. The report of the forensic audit carried out on the NNPC is being studied with a view to implementing the recommendations and sanctioning proven acts of corruption in the industry.
10.                       Let me assure Nigerians that this administration is irrevocably committed to tackling corruption in the petroleum industry as well as other sectors of the economy. Consequently, all those found to have contributed one way or the other to the economic adversity of the country will be dealt with in accordance with the law.
11.                       My dear compatriots, I urge you to show understanding for the imperatives of the adjustment in the pump price of petrol and give government your full support to ensure its successful implementation. I further appeal to Nigerians to go back to work and go about their normal duties as government has made adequate arrangements for the protection of life and property throughout the federation.
12.                       Government will not condone brazen acts of criminality and subversion. As President, I have sworn to uphold the unity, peace and order of the Nigerian State and by the grace of God, I intend to fully and effectively discharge that responsibility.  Let me add that we are desirous of further engagements with Labour. I urge our Labour leaders to call off their strike, and go back to work.
13.                       Nigeria belongs to all of us and we must collectively safeguard its unity.
14.                       Thank you. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Federal Republic of Nigeria


NMA press release on the fuel subsidy and protests plus NLC strike


Following the formal declaration of strike by NLC/TUC to commence on the 9th, January 2012 through separate Communiqué at press conferences tagged ”In defence of the Nigerian people on fuel price increases” Held at Abuja and Lagos respectively on Wednesday 4th January,2012,the NMA, a professional association of all medical doctors and Dentists in Nigeria, though not a member of NLC/TUC, identifies, supports and associates itself with the people orientated and focused  actions contained in the above NLC/TUC communiqué.
The decision taken by government on fuel subsidy at this time of our chequered history, canvassed and preached by government functionaries and some few groups and being forced through the throat of Nigerians cannot hold water.
The Nigerian Medical Association had since the public announcement by government on removal of fuel subsidy been in active consultation with the NLC, TUC, NBA and other professional bodies and civil societies. We have also consulted widely with all state branches of the NMA including FCT Abuja, and  senior members of the profession and association. The hallmark of these are:
POSITION—»The NMA  condemns and rejects this  insensitive increase in the pump price of fuel in the name of subsidy removal in the midst of increasing unemployment, red-alert insecurity, exponential poverty, increasing Ill- health and diseases, collapsed educational systems amongst others in the land. We in the NMA  join the millions of Nigerians to resist this evil. Where democracy thrives, power belongs to the people, with the elected leaders listening to the yearnings of the people and not governing with impunity.ACTIONSWhile NMA is in tandem with the NLC/TUC declared strike, the participation of NMA shall be stratified as follows:Nigerian Medical Association national leadership  will join in the demonstration at the national level while the  members in all the 36 states including FCT Abuja  are directed  to join other groups or carry out independent  protests in states.
Our Protesting members  should be appropriately dressed in white coats with First Aid materials/ambulances to ensure we attend to the health needs of protesters. Sick bays should be set up at demonstration sites or location to care for the needy.
In view of the fact that we are not unmindful of the likely casualties, medical and surgical emergencies that are bound to occur, emergency sections of the hospitals should remain open to render emergency services. Management of the different hospitals should work out appropriate schedules. This is borne out of the fact that people we are protecting and making a case for, should not suffer unduly from ill health occasioned by the strike and bad governance. We implore ambulance owners  to assist  with  ambulances during the protest. This is without prejudice to states where strikes has been ongoing before now for other reasons. In such states, the
 strike continues to get the blessing of NMA.

1.  We decry any form of police or military brutality or harassment or arrest in the course of peaceful protest/demonstration and strike embarked by people of Nigeria, while calling on protesters/demonstrators to be civil in their conduct.

2.We call for reversal of the pump price of fuel or PMS to
N65:00 per litre immediately. NLC/TUC and all other groups and professional associations should not entertain any discussion with government until the reversal is done.

3.A promising government with POWER at her disposal should be able to bring cabals in any form in the oil and gas industry and in other sectors of the economy to book and check corruption at highest levels.

APPEAL: We use this occasion to appreciate the 7th National Assembly, for their people centered positions on issues so far. On the burning issue at stake, we implore the National Assembly to urge Mr. President to reverse the subsidy removal in line with the peoples demand. We equally call on the Executives/National/State Assemblies to address the prevailing extravagant cost of running government which have been repeatedly referred to by various quarters.

LAST STRAW: NMA will not hesitate to completely close down all health facilities in the country if government allows the NLC/TUC/ civil society strike/protest extend to Friday 13th January 2012. A close monitoring of developments may necessitate a change in strategy. We therefore call on government to address this people directed wish without further delay.

CONCLUSION. Government must realize that it cannot always be right, and that times have changed with increasing awareness and sophistication.It should now be clear to the government that the benefits of the so-called subsidy on petrol cuts across all strata of the population and impart directly more on the downtrodden. The theory that states would be better funded is difficult to believe as we are yet to see in many states what their statutory Federal allocation along with Internally Generated revenue has been used for.Government should therefore reverse this action to prevent further damages to the  good people of this Country.
Thank You.


our president reacts.

Courtesy Sahara reporters.

Dear Compatriots: 1.     A week ago, I had cause to address Nigerians on the security challenges we are facing in parts of the country, which necessitated the declaration of a state of emergency in 15 Local Government Areas in four states of the Federation. That course of action attracted widespread support and a demonstration of understanding. With that declaration, government had again signaled its intention to combat terrorism with renewed vigour and to assure every Nigerian of safety.
2.    The support that we have received in the fight against terrorism from concerned Nigerians at home and abroad has been remarkable. We believe that it is with such continued support that progress can be made on national issues. Let me express my heartfelt appreciation to everyone who has expressed a commitment to support us as we strive to improve on the country’s security situation, and build a stronger foundation for the future.  The recent mindless acts of violence in Gombe, Potiskum, Jimeta-Yola and Mubi are unfortunate. I urge all Nigerians to eschew bitterness and acrimony and live together in harmony and peace. Wherever there is any threat to public peace, our security agencies will enforce the law, without fear or favour.

3.    This evening, I address you, again, with much concern over an issue that borders on the national economy, the oil industry and national progress.  As part of our efforts to transform the economy and guarantee prosperity for all Nigerians, Government, a few days ago, announced further deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector. The immediate effect of this has been the removal of the subsidy on petrol.

4.    Since the announcement, there have been mixed reactions to the policy. Let me seize this opportunity to assure all Nigerians that I feel the pain that you all feel.  I personally feel pained to see the sharp increase in transport fares and the prices of goods and services. I share the anguish of all persons who had travelled out of their stations, who had to pay more on the return leg of their journeys.

5.    If I were not here to lead the process of national renewal, if I were in your shoes at this moment, I probably would have reacted in the same manner as some of our compatriots, or hold the same critical views about government.  But I need to use this opportunity as your President to address Nigerians on the realities on the ground, and why we chose to act as we did. I know that these are not easy times. But tough choices have to be made to safeguard the economy and our collective survival as a nation.

6.     My fellow Nigerians, the truth is that we are all faced with two basic choices with regard to the management of the downstream petroleum sector: either we deregulate and survive economically, or we continue with a subsidy regime that will continue to undermine our economy and potential for growth, and face serious consequences.

7.    As you all know, the subject of deregulation is not new, we have been grappling with it for more than two decades. Previous administrations tinkered with the pump price of petroleum products, and were unable to effect complete deregulation of the downstream sector. This approach has not worked.  If it did, we would not be here talking about deregulation today. I understand fully well that deregulation is not a magic formula that will address every economic challenge, but it provides a good entry point for transforming the economy, and for ensuring transparency and competitiveness in the oil industry, which is the mainstay of our economy. 

8.    As a President, elected and supported by ordinary Nigerians, and the vast majority of our people, I have a duty to bring up policies and programmes that will grow the economy and bring about greater benefits for the people.  Let me assure you that as your President, I have no intention to inflict pain on Nigerians.

9.     The deregulation of the petroleum sector is a necessary step that we had to take. Should we continue to do things the same way, and face more serious economic challenges? Or deregulate, endure the initial discomfort and reap better benefits later? I want to assure every Nigerian that whatever pain you may feel at the moment, will be temporary.

10.    The interest of the ordinary people of this country will always remain topmost in my priorities as a leader. I remain passionately committed to achieving significant and enduring improvements in our economy that will lead to sustained improvement in the lives of our people.

11.    I am determined to leave behind a better Nigeria, which we all can be proud of. To do so, I must make sure that we have the resources and the means to grow our economy to be resilient, and to sustain improved livelihood for our people. We must act in the public interest, no matter how tough, for the pains of today cannot be compared to the benefits of tomorrow.  On assumption of office as President, I swore to an oath to always act in the best interest of the people. I remain faithful to that undertaking.

12.     To save Nigeria, we must all be prepared to make sacrifices.  On the part of Government, we are taking several measures aimed at cutting the size and cost of governance, including on-going and continuous effort to reduce the size of our recurrent expenditure and increase capital spending. In this regard, I have directed that overseas travels by all political office holders, including the President, should be reduced to the barest minimum. The size of delegations on foreign trips will also be drastically reduced; only trips that are absolutely necessary will be approved. 

13.    For the year 2012, the basic salaries of all political office holders in the Executive arm of government will be reduced by 25%. Government is also currently reviewing the number of committees, commissions and parastatals with overlapping responsibilities. The Report on this will be submitted shortly and the recommendations will be promptly implemented. In the meantime, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies must reduce their overhead expenses.
14.    We are all greatly concerned about the issue of corruption. The deregulation policy is the strongest measure to tackle this challenge in the downstream sector. In addition, government is taking other steps to further sanitize the oil industry. 

15.    To ensure that the funds from petroleum subsidy removal are spent prudently on projects that will build a greater Nigeria, I have established a committee to oversee the implementation of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme. I sincerely believe that the reinvestment of the petroleum subsidy funds, to ensure improvement in national infrastructure, power supply, transportation, irrigation and agriculture, education, healthcare, and other social services, is in the best interest of our people.

16.    Fellow Nigerians, I know that the removal of the petroleum subsidy imposes an initial burden on our people, especially the rising cost of transportation.  Government will be vigilant and act decisively to curb the excesses of those that want to exploit the current situation for selfish gains.  I plead for the understanding of all Nigerians.  I appeal to our youth not to allow mischief-makers to exploit present circumstances to mislead or incite them to disturb public peace.

17.     To address the immediate challenges that have been identified, I have directed all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government to embark immediately on all projects, which have been designed to cushion the impact of the subsidy removal in the short, medium and long-term, as outlined in the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme Document.

18.     Tomorrow, 8th January, I will formally launch a robust mass transit intervention programme to bring down the cost of transportation across the country. The programme will be implemented in partnership with state and local governments, labour unions, transport owners, and banking institutions, and supported with the provision of funding at zero interest rate as well as import duty waiver on all needed parts for locally-made mass transit vehicles, which will create additional jobs in the economy.

19.    We will keep these incentives in place for as long as it takes. I want to assure you that Government will not rest until we bring down the cost of transportation for our people.  Let me thank the transporters’ associations that have agreed to reduce transport fares. I have directed the Minister of Labour and Productivity to work with these associations to come up with a sustainable plan to guarantee this within the shortest possible time.

20.     In addition, I have ordered the mobilization of contractors for the full rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt –Maiduguri Railway Line and the completion of the Lagos-Kano Railway Line. I have also directed the immediate commencement of a Public Works programme that will engage the services of about 10, 000 youths in every state of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory. This will create an additional 370, 000 jobs.

21.    Government has taken these decisions in the best interest of our economy, so that we not only have benefits today, but to ensure that we bequeath even greater benefits to our children and grandchildren.

22.     Let me assure Nigerians that every possible effort will be made to ensure that we march forward, with a collective resolve to build a Nigeria that can generate greater economic growth, create and sustain new jobs, and secure the future of our children. 

23.     This Administration will aggressively implement its programme to reposition and strengthen our economy, while paying adequate attention to the immediate needs of our citizens.

24.     I assure you all that we will work towards achieving full domestic refining of petroleum products with the attendant benefits.

25.     As I ask for the full understanding of all Nigerians, I also promise that I will keep my word.

26.    Thank you. May God bless you; and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR
Federal Republic of Nigeria
January 7, 2012