In his New Year address to Nigerians on January 1, President Muhammadu Buhari frowned on the activities of some unscrupulous people who inflicted severe hardship on all citizens by creating unnecessary fuel scarcity across the country. He said the situation was unacceptable and vowed to get to the root of "this collective blackmail of all Nigerians and ensure that those behind this manipulated hardship will be prevented from doing so again." Given that the issue cuts across several sectors beyond oil, how do you think economic sabotage can be checked in Nigeria?
By ABIMBOLA AKOSILE
* Honestly, apprehend, convict and punish all guilty economic saboteurs and offenders severely to deter others. Then, oil to armed robbery, kidnapping, smuggling, insurgency, abused demonstrations, public funds misappropriation, illegal migration, tax evasion, illegal killings and deprivations and such sins etc must all be checked appropriately and urgently. In fact the apt time for justice is now.
- Miss Apeji Patience Eneyeme, Badagry, Lagos State
* Where is the economic sabotage from? We were promised modular refineries and the full production of our old refineries. Three years down the line, nothing. We invest billions of dollars on generation plants without investing in the infrastructure required to transmit that power to distribution companies. Selling the distribution arm of PHCN was a great tragedy because the companies now survive on government bailouts. Bad policies, poor infrastructure and poor implementation have ensured that many hitherto healthy companies have relocated or have shut down. The greatest economic saboteurs could actually be from within the government. All of these can be addressed when we start to abide by the rule of law which can be brought about by enforcing our laws. The political will to implement these must be mustered first.
- Mr. Buga Dunj, Jos, Plateau State
* The Federal Government can truly stop economic sabotage by severely punishing those found wanting. In fact we have weak leadership at the centre, which talk too much with little action. Why plea bargain; if you have stolen any amount of money, let it be recovered and you dealt with. I am telling you, this government encourages thieving; and it is very bad.
- Hon. Babale Maiungwa, U/Romi, Kaduna State
* Although the average Nigerian doesn't mind exploiting fellow citizens in the name of quick profit, the issue of economic sabotage rests majorly on the rich and the elites who have the resources and power to practice oil bunkering, round-tripping in the banks, money laundering and even illegal export of crude oil from depots. The best thing government can do is to make examples of the economic saboteurs across each sector through huge fines, closure of their organisations and lengthy jail terms. To stop economic sabotage in Nigeria, the penalty must exceed the underhand rewards.
- Mr. Olumuyiwa Olorunsomo, Lagos State
* By telling Buhari to tell the truth about our monies he's been stealing since the 70s as oil minister, governor, head of state and now president - then he should resign.
- Mr. Monco Tunde Okoli, USA
* Economic sabotage cuts across various sectors beyond oil e.g. smuggling, arms proliferation, drugs peddling, human trafficking, security vices, financial and social crimes e.t.c are nurtured by some influential diehard political money-bags acting behind the scene and unjustly inflicting hardship on hapless citizens; yet they go scot-free. Government keeps promising to check the grotesque dilemma but have grossly failed over time to fulfil their promises on such sensitive issues so far. It is apt time to clamp down on such criminals and bring them to book.
- Mr. Apeji Onesi, Lagos State
* Well, the broadcast of our president was good over oil marketers' acts but we want proactive action against the marketers who held Nigerians for ransom in their selfish aims to hike the price and cause fuel scarcity in order to make gain for themselves. To cushion these marketers' ugly acts of causing fuel scarcity, government should start to build new refineries and maintain old ones. For PMB's priorities on power, roads and others in 2018 we need actions.
- Mr. Gordon Chika Nnorom, Public Commentator, Umukabia, Abia State
* Start with cleaning up the leadership and everything else will align in Nigeria.
- Ms. Nkeiruka Abanna, Lagos State
* The Federal Government should allow the so-called illegal refineries to go ahead as they are using waste products; instead, they should be encouraged by removing (illegal) and replacing it by (legal) giving them legal backing. The country requires not less than 30 refineries; they are using their technology and intelligence in the production. Are they exporting it or using it in the country? Let us employ the habit of encouraging our students at any field of their research.
- Mr. Dogo Stephen, Kaduna State
* The government and their coronary are the rogues and issues. So the solution is handy fetched; they should stop themselves.
- Mr. Blessed Sobomabo Braide, Lagos State
* I agree that the issue has become intractable, with cabals everywhere: the 'generator cabal' undermining our electricity industry, the 'oil cabal' undermining our refineries e.t.c. Who will bell the cat? Firstly, I think government should purge itself of these elements within its ranks. After successfully doing this, government should hit all of them with an iron fist. If stringent legislation has to initially come into effect, the National Assembly should rise to the occasion. God bless Nigeria!
- Mr. E. Iheanyi Chukwudi, Apo, Abuja
* With the broadcast of President Muhammadu Buhari, let us keep our fingers crossed and see how the promises made would be fulfilled by the president.
- Mrs. Ijeoma Nnorom, Lagos State
* The traditional, community, household and religious leaders have vital roles to play to educate their followers and lay good examples. The Federal Ministries and law enforcement agencies should be empowered to perform their stipulated roles. Also CSOs, Development partners, individuals, churches and mosques leaders should help ensure that the Federal Government provides accountability, transparency and social welfare packages to average citizens that will help alleviate poverty and ensure good leadership and economic development. The Federal Government, State Governors, National and State Assemblies, local Government Chairmen and all those at the helm of affairs should be proactive in addressing the citizens' needs, and introduce a good policy that will address the cries of average citizens, stop the economic sabotage, and ensure discipline of the offenders.
- Mr. Michael Adedotun Oke, Founder, Michael Adedotun Oke Foundation, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja
* There is a saying that says 'show me your friends and I will tell you who you are'. Permit me to also say that charity begins at home. You should start with this cabinet.
- Mr. Ifeanyi Nwankwo, Lagos State
Top tip: Let the govt purge its ranks first!
Second: Apply stiff sanctions to saboteurs
Third: Build more refineries, power plants
Radical tip: Overhaul the leadership!
Total no of respondents: 14
Highest location: Lagos (7)
Next Week: Can Nigeria Cease Rice Importation in 2018?
President Muhammadu Buhari, in his New Year address to the nation on January 1, also stated that there would be zero rice importation this year. Rice is a staple food product in millions of Nigerian homes and many analysts believe that its local production is yet to meet the growing demand of consumers. In your own view, how can zero importation of rice be ensured in the country this year?
Please make your response direct, short and simple, and state your full name, title, organisation, and location. Responses should be sent between today (January 11 & Monday, January 15) to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, AND firstname.lastname@example.org. Respondents can also send a short text message to 08023117639 and/or 08188361766 and/or 08114495306. Collated responses will be published on Thursday, January 18