“More Hardship Will Befall Nigerians” – Former Council Boss
As a prelude to a public outcry on some level of hardship being experienced in the country, Conscience Triumph took a ‘VOXPOP’ trip round the city of Kaduna to hear it live from the people. ACHADU GABRIEL reports:
Majority of those interviewed sincerely expressed their displeasure and ill feelings over the severity of hardship being faced. Some, however, expressed confidence in the ability of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to turn the tide around to better the country.
A principal of an old mission school in Television area of Kaduna metropolis, who declined her identity, told our reporter that the hardship has gone high – that most parents of their students, known for prompt payment of school fees, are bankrupt, and could no longer afford school fees.
She said parents show no remorse even when the school authority threaten their children with withdrawal for inability to pay fees, because they really don’t have the money to pay. Even students admission and registration of students for WAEC, according to the principal, have gone dry and bad. Indeed, student admission has dropped totally due to hardship among parents who could no longer afford to even feed their families.
“When we threaten to send their children back home, they say, ‘no problem,’ because food for feeding is even a problem; if you don’t eat well, can you pay school fees? In fact, many students did not register for WAEC this year due to the hardship,” she said.
A civil servant, who gave his name as Alex A., was blunt when interviewed. Alex said there is hardship because “price of food items have gone up in the market; no money to buy them, and some civil servants are not paid their salaries.” He said, to get even one square meal is hard.
Aliyu Adamu differs from others’ opinion when interviewed. According to him, “there is no hardship; we Nigerians are impatient. Less than eight months people are crying, but people did not cry million years under PDP. We suppose to wait for this government.”
One John Apeh, a businessman interviewed, noted that why he agreed there is serious hardship, it was because of the development going on in government, and would not continue forever, by the special grace of God. Government, according to him, is having sleepless nights to ensure that something urgently is done about the situation.
“It’s because government is recovering money from those who stole it. There is hardship; things are not like this before. The way people steal money before without working for it is no longer like that. Before, with N500.00 you can buy in the market but is no longer like that and that is why there is hardship,” he said.
Abdulkadir Bello, former council chairman Kachia LG area of Kaduna State, in his views in an interview, said that there is hardship, sincerely. He said, “I’m a dealer in foreign exchange, bringing goods from other countries, especially Dubai, and sell in my country, Nigeria; but for the past six months I’ve not been able to do the business.
“I’ve no money to import goods because of increase in the cost of hard currency. I cannot buy it. So, there is hardship. Price of oil has also crashed. But we need to bear it. In the long run, it will be better for us in Nigeria. We have to sacrifice like other countries like China did.
“The step taken by the current government may be hard and stiff but in the long run it will be good. We should look inward. People are being apprehended with 400-1000 ATM Cards, POS and others. They go to overseas with it to withdraw and come to Nigeria and sell at high price of the foreign currency, and government bears everything consequences.
“People are suffering due to the government’s stiffer measure now but it will be over. No country survives being a consumer nation. Let the foreign countries who buy our crude oil come and invest in refining the product in Nigeria to create employment. In fact, more hardship may befall Nigerians but at the end we will enjoy it.
“The hardship is affecting me because I can’t afford to buy dollar anymore now. I want to now look inward to Niger and Benin Republic – what do they want that we have and they don’t have so I can supply. All this is happening because Nigerian government is recovering money from those who stole it.”
For John Aduku, a retiree of FRCN, Nigerians should not lazy around in the name of hardship. They should work hard to earn a living. He said, “Even though I’ve retired for years from FRCN, I’m still doing some work to sustain my live even though there is hardship.”
According to Abduljalal Usman, a spokesman of Kaduna Forex Trade Association, popularly known as ‘Bureau De Change,’ hardship is very high in the air, and Nigerians are crying. “We are getting hardship with a lot of challenges. Customers will troop in looking for foreign currency but we cannot get it to give them. Imagine how you feel when you are unable to meet your customers’ demands. We have no currency to sell to customers. A customers is supposed to be a king,” he lamented, stressing that, “the currency is so scarce; you know the law of demand-and-supply in economics: the lower the supply, the higher the demand.”
Earlier, Usman explained that initially there was arrangement between CBN and Bureau De Change (BDC) operators, under the present government, to sell dollars to BDC on weekly basis, which Forex resell to customers and make returns within the week to CBN.
“We had to state clearly that Mr. “A” and “B” are the ones we sold the dollars to.” He lamented that at a point, CBN made it mandatory that Forex must acquire full travel documents of their customers – Passport, Valid Visa, Air Ticket and BVN.
“And, early in January this year, CBN came up with a circular, that, henceforth they have stopped selling dollar or any foreign currency to BDC operators without any justification for their action. Since then, getting foreign currency has been very difficult for Forex, and people have been experiencing a lot of difficulties.
“If you could remember, there was restriction from them stopping withdrawals with your ATM and POS anywhere in the world. This policy, honestly, is affecting us seriously.”
He however, stated (though from history), for a country to progress, there must be some restrictions on how people would rely so much on foreign importation or currency or almost everything. To him, relying so much on foreign products is wrong and there must be restriction to get it right. This, he said comes with hardships, given instances of other countries that did it, including China.