A group, Rural Community Development Outreach (RCDO), has warned against a plot to blackmail governors of states with the intention of hijacking from them the N5 billion subsidy palliative announced for states by President Bola Tinubu.
President Tinubu had announced the disbursement of funds to states to cushion the effect of the removal of subsidies from petroleum by his government.
But the group, RCDO, said it has uncovered plans by some people to highjack the funds from governors while also cajoling them into submission through blackmail and unfavourable media reports.
In a press statement by the group’s leaders, signed by Mr Ikenna Ellis Ezenekwe, the group’s Nigerian Coordinator, and Mr Danjuma Othman Mohammed, Secretary, the group said the move will impoverish the rural people, whom the funds are meant to pull out of poverty.
“As the nation witnesses an inspiring shift towards rural development and agricultural revitalization, the looming threat to the equitable distribution of the recently announced N5 billion palliative has set off alarm bells.
“The N5 billion palliative, a key component of President Bola Tinubu’s intervention programme to mitigate the impact of the oil subsidy removal, is now a pawn in the hands of political power brokers.
“Our intelligence reveals a troubling pattern where seasoned political operatives are leveraging their influence to arm-twist state governors into parting with the funds.
“Those who dare to stand against this coercion and refuse to succumb to the pressure of sharing the N5 billion with political cronies and godfathers are being confronted with threats of media manipulation through foreign-based online newspapers, beyond the reach of Nigeria’s legal jurisdiction.”
The group called on Nigerian governors to remain resilient and resist any attempt by power brokers in their state to take what belongs to the masses.
It mentioned states like Anambra, Bauchi, Borno, and Adamawa as some of those who have begun to take the initiative to rescue their people by marshalling out policies to channel their state’s N5 billion into agricultural incentives and infrastructural amenities.
The group said if the plot to hijack the funds works, the ordinary citizens and rural communities of the affected states stand to lose the most.
“With over 133 million Nigerians already languishing below the poverty line, there is no room for self-serving politicians to interrupt this trajectory towards inclusive development.
These are crucial times that demand unwavering patriotism from all Nigerians.
“We call on the governors, especially Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State and Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State, who are already being attacked, to resist them and work for the benefit of the people.”