President Bola Tinubu has justified the removal of fuel subsidies, saying that the country cannot continue feeding smugglers and acting as Father Christmas to neighbouring countries.
He said this at an interactive session with the Royal Fathers under the aegis of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN) at the Aso Villa on Friday, according to a statement by State House Director of Information, Abiodun Oladunjoye.
The President informed them of the decision to remove fuel subsidies, improve security, create jobs, and sustain the environment as well as the forthcoming election of principal officers of the 10th National Assembly.
‘‘I am grateful that you are paying attention to what I have been doing. You have paid attention to the subsidy removal. Why should we in good heart and sense, feed smugglers and be Father Christmas to neighbouring countries, even though they say not every day is Christmas?
‘‘The elephant that was going to bring Nigeria to its knees is the subsidy. A country that cannot pay salaries and we say we have the potential to encourage ourselves. I think we did the right thing,’’ he said.
Various speakers at the meeting expressed support for the subsidy removal, with the President appealing to the traditional leaders to persuade Nigerians to have faith and that the pump prices of fuel will eventually come down.
While acknowledging concerns about the need for critical infrastructure in different parts of the country, President Tinubu pledged that any roadblock in the way of the progress of the Nigerian people would be removed by his government.
‘‘The lamentations about the capital projects, where is the money going to come from if we don’t protect our resources and our boundaries?
‘‘You cannot have development without capital projects,’’ he added.
On the leadership of the National Assembly, the President urged the royal fathers to counsel their subjects interested in elective positions on the need to manage their ambitions and create harmony within the legislative house.
President Tinubu declared that he is ready to work with any elected representative from the National Assembly, stressing that the Nigeria project is of paramount importance to him.
‘‘Nigeria must survive. Nigeria must develop. Nigeria must make progress,’’ he said.
On security, the President reiterated his pledge to Nigerians to prioritise the sector until every Nigerian “goes to sleep with their two eyes closed.’’
He emphasized that the unity and togetherness of the country cannot be compromised, saying that every region of the country would get what it is due.
‘‘We are going to tackle youth unemployment. It is only when we have prosperity for the country that we can create jobs that will employ our youths,” the former Lagos State governor said.