Catholic archbishops, Ignatius Kaigama and John Onaiyekan have kicked against the federal government’s decision to increase electricity tariff and petrol price, saying it contradicts the Buhari administration’s promise to make life better for Nigerians.
The two archbishops while speaking at the maiden general assembly of the Catholic archdiocese of Abuja said the government should reconsider the move because citizens are suffering.
The government through the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) recently increased the ex-depot price of petrol from N138.62 to N151.56 per litre.
Following the increment, petrol marketers raised the price of the product from N148 to between N158 and N162 per litre.
This came days after electricity distribution companies (DisCos) in the country began the implementation of the new cost-reflective electricity tariff.
Addressing journalists at the general assembly which was held in Abuja, Kaigama, Catholic archbishop of Abuja diocese, asked the government to consider poor Nigerians over the policies.
He said: “I can only beg on behalf of the poor and the needy that government should have mercy on us. We are at the grassroots and I meet people who are really poor and in need and with all these increases, it makes life more intolerable.
“As a priest, I can only pray that God will do something for the poor and the needy but God doesn’t operate in a vacuum; He uses our leaders, the president, the governors and local government chairmen. I know they can do something.
“Let them just look at the poor and the needy with the eyes of mercy and strategise. There is a way out, they can be helped.
“As a witness, people are in agony and are suffering. The government is their father; the government is their leader. Let them do something.”
Also speaking, Onaiyekan, a former archbishop of the diocese, tackled the government for worsening the cost of living.
“Mr. President, in the same breath, was telling us he was going to do all he can to make life easier for Nigerians and one of the things he can do is those increases,” he said.
“Fuel price increase and electricity tariff increase should be put in a wider context. We wouldn’t be complaining about fuel price increase if the salaries were also increased.
“The problem comes when you leave the people with nothing to eat. I don’t think the government is supposed to be doing that. They should find a way to make life liveable for Nigerians.”