Subsidy Palliative: How The Rich And The Middle Class Rubs The Poor

 By Mohammed Bello Doka.

In a promising move to address the dire financial situation faced by millions of impoverished households across Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu launched an ambitious conditional cash transfer program. This initiative aimed to provide 2.5 million poor households with a monthly allowance of 8000 Nigerian Naira. The program promised significant relief to poverty-stricken communities grappling with rising inflation exacerbated by the removal of fuel subsidies.

The news of this welfare program brought joy and hope to the country's vulnerable population. However, an unexpected turn of events saw the elite and uninformed middle class vehemently criticizing the generous initiative. These individuals, erroneously considering themselves as part of the wealthy class, launched a massive campaign undermining the program's intentions. They attributed all sorts of ill motives to the plan, successfully persuading the President to abandon it altogether.

Instead, the government allocated a staggering sum of 5 billion Naira to each of the 36 state governors as a palliative measure. A wave of disbelief swept through the nation as the same governors, who had stockpiled food grains intended for their respective states during the COVID-19 pandemic, were now entrusted with distributing cash to the needy. The irony was lost on the elite and aspiring middle class, who remained quiet, refraining from questioning or expressing any concern over the apparent contradiction.

Regrettably, the consequences of this abandonment became swiftly apparent. Today, impoverished citizens in various states receive paltry amounts of garri, worth no more than 2000 Naira, as meager palliative offerings. This stark contrast to the proposed monthly 8000 Naira allowance for six months has disappointed and frustrated those in desperate need of support. Meanwhile, the rich and middle-class individuals, many of whom have joined in vilifying the President and his policies, remain silent about this glaring discrepancy.

Sadly, until the disparity between the wealthy and the impoverished is rectified, the poor will continue to be marginalized and deprived of basic necessities. The day may come when the hunger-stricken masses can no longer bear their suffering, leading them to rise against those who have perpetuated their hardship. It is essential that both the rich and the aspiring middle class recognize the potential consequences of neglecting the needs of the less fortunate, as ultimately, they too may fall victim to the desperation stemming from such inequality.

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