President Muhammadu Buhari is said to have been forced to mke a U-turn on the decision by his government to remove fuel subsidy due to security advice.
According to The Punch report, intelligence handed over to the President by security officials showed that the protests that would have accompanied the subsidy removal might have been far worse than the #EndSARS’s mass protests against police brutality, which grounded many parts of the country in 2020.
The official, who spoke to the newspaper on strict condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the press, said the President was eager to implement the Petroleum Industry Act which would have ensured that subsidy was removed by June and investments in the oil sector increased.
He further said that the government was afraid that such protests would have easily been hijacked by the opposition and affected the chances of the All Progressives Congress in next year’s election.
The official added, “The police, DSS, the National Intelligence Agency and the Office of the National Security Adviser usually send security reports to the President on the impact of sensitive issues like fuel subsidy. Reports given to the President showed that the protests being planned by unions would have been 10 times bigger than the #EndSARS protests.
“Petrol price was projected to increase to about N350 if the international price of oil continues to rise. This would have increased the cost of everything and encouraged everyone to take to the streets.
“They also drew the President’s attention to the coups sweeping many African countries and how the protests could have been hijacked by the opposition. This was why the President not only delayed subsidy removal but transferred the responsibility to the next government.”