Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo has told protesters that the federal government has heard them loud and clear while restating the determination of the administration to recover the economy.
Recall that there were protests in Lagos, Abuja,Rivers and Benin yesterday over the policies and actions of the present administration.
Musician, Innocent Idibia, popularly known as TuFace had on Sunday announced the cancellation of his One Voice planned protest against the situation in the country which was scheduled for Monday,however some other groups had vowed to go on with the protest.
In his reaction to the protest, Osinbajo speaking at the government – private sector engagement forum on the Nigeria economic recovery and growth plan at the Presidential Villa noted that the protesters have a right to demand for a better economy and the administration is committed to see it happen.
He admitted that the nation is in what he called a serious economic situation.
“We are in a serious economic situation and the president was particularly concerned about the lot of the common man. And I quote him, “Recession today for some it’s means not being able to pay school fees, for others not being able to afford high cost of rice and millets and for most of our young people recession means joblessness.And for many of our young people the recession means joblessness, sometimes after graduating from university or polytechnic.
I know how difficult things are, and how rough business is. All my adult life I have always earned a salary, and I know what it is like when your salary simply is not enough. In every part of our nation people are making incredible sacrifices.”
“I for one have been across the states and even today some people are out on the street protesting that things are difficult. What we are saying to every Nigeria is that ‘we hear you loud and clear’, and we are determined to recover the economy. You have a right to demand for a better economy and we are committed to see it happen” Osinbajo said.
He said years of deterioration cannot be reversed over night while reiterating that it is the duty of the government to ensure that they put the Nigerian economy on the track of recovery.
He recalled that for the past 18 months,the federal government had to intervene three times to states to enable them have enough resources pay salaries and the last intervention was in December with the Paris club refund to the states.
He added that ” This is funds that the federal government was owing states since 2005. This was to enable states pay their workers and we tend to believe that this is what is being done.
“The journey out of the damage caused by years of neglect and corruption is bound to be difficult but there is a glorious light at the end of the tunnel. Let us work together, steadfastly and patiently for the economic change that will come very soon”
He spoke about the social intervention fund which includes pay N5,000 a month to the poorest citizens saying ” The home grown feeding programme has started in several states, it will provide opportunity for farmers all across the country. We are also providing credit facility to 1.6 million traders and artisans etc.
“The economic recovery growth plan is engaging the private sector .The federal government on its own cannot do it.Your participattion is your own commitment to the future of our country and to those coming behind us” He stated.