The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Observer Mission to Nigeria has urged the Nigerian government to take proactive measures to address the fuel and cash scarcity that citizens are facing in the country. The mission further emphasized the need to resolve the ongoing insecurity crisis before the upcoming February 25 election.
The mission, led by former President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma, made this call during their visit to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Wednesday in Abuja.
In his statement, Koroma expressed concerns about the limited availability of fuel and how it would impact the movement of people, including officials from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). He also raised concerns about the limited liquidity in the financial system and the scarcity of cash. These concerns had been brought to the attention of the mission by political parties and observers.
In addition to these two general concerns, Koroma highlighted the security issues affecting specific locations and regions. He called on the Nigerian government to address all these issues before the crucial elections.
Responding to the concerns, Onyeama acknowledged the challenges posed by the scarcity of naira and fuel in the country. He assured the ECOWAS mission that the government was taking steps to alleviate the burden on Nigerians. He disclosed that measures were being taken to increase the availability of fuel, and banks were being urged to make more funds available.
Onyeama also used the opportunity to urge politicians and political parties to maintain peace and order during the election period.
The call by the ECOWAS Observer Mission underscores the urgent need for the Nigerian government to address the critical issues facing the country. Fuel scarcity has been a recurring problem in Nigeria, with long queues of motorists waiting to purchase fuel becoming a common sight. This has resulted in a significant disruption of economic activities, transportation, and daily life.
The scarcity of cash has also affected the economy, with the Central Bank of Nigeria implementing policies to limit cash withdrawals from banks. This has resulted in a shortage of physical cash in circulation, making it difficult for people to carry out their daily transactions.
Furthermore, the ongoing insecurity crisis in the country has led to the displacement of thousands of people and the loss of lives and property. This has created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty, making it difficult for people to carry out their daily activities.
In light of these challenges, it is imperative that the Nigerian government takes urgent steps to address these issues. The government must prioritize the availability of fuel and cash and take measures to ensure that these essential commodities are available to citizens.
The government must also address the ongoing insecurity crisis in the country. This will require a comprehensive strategy that involves the deployment of security forces to affected areas and the implementation of measures to address the root causes of the crisis.
It is also important that political actors and their respective parties play their part in ensuring a peaceful election period. This includes avoiding actions that could incite violence and maintaining order and decorum throughout the election process.
The call by the ECOWAS Observer Mission to Nigeria highlights the urgent need for the Nigerian government to address the critical issues facing the country. It is imperative that the government takes proactive measures to address fuel and cash scarcity, as well as the ongoing insecurity crisis. Political actors must also play their part in ensuring a peaceful election period. Only then can Nigeria move towards a more stable and prosperous future.