Hardship: Nigerians Rough Tackle Akpabio Over Comments On Protests


BY EDMOND ODOK – The Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio has come under fire by some Nigerians for daring to say that ongoing protests in parts of the country are being sponsored by opponents of the present administration.

Angry commentators on social media have no kind words for the nation’s Number three citizens, noting that his recent remarks demonstrate absolute insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians.

Dragging him for claiming that some of the street protests against the rising cost of living in the country were sponsored, many of the posts described Akpabio’s statement as not only “shocking” but also “insensitive” given the level of suffering that most Nigerians are going through at the moment.

Against the backdrop of recent streets protests in Niger, Taraba, Kano,  Sokoto, and Oyo states among others by residents over the prevailing economic hardship in the country, one of the commentators said if “Nigerians were really angry, political leaders like the Senate President would have been more circumspect in their public deliveries knowing that there could be consequences taking the people who are hungry for granted.”

Also lamenting that politicians keep telling open lies to the public and yet get away with such atrocities, another post by @MrAlaboRoland noted; “These guys are just insensitive to the plight of the ordinary Nigerian”

With lamentations by Nigerians growing daily over the hardship and suffering occasioned by the fuel subsidy removal, and the unified exchange rate policy in 2023, inflation has skyrocketed across the country leading to open protests on the streets with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) again announcing that machinery is in place for a two-day nationwide protest slated for February 27 and February 28, 2024.

The NLC’s National President, Joe Ajaero, said the protest would begin a week after the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum it issued to the Federal Government which will expire on February 23.

Other Nigerians who took to their X accounts to berate Senator Akpabio over the comments were surprised that he should pretend not to be aware that things are generally rough and tough for most families across the country.

Some of the reactions are produced here: @amudaDewale: “Lawmakers should go out there, take a bus, go to the park, and feel what Nigerians are going through.”

@XBrainDennis: “Apart from Tinubu, this man is the second greatest disappointment in Nigeria. I had so much hope on his Senate Presidency. But once again, I’m the idiot for hoping.”

@MrAlaboRoland: “These guys are just insensitive to the plight of the ordinary Nigerian”

@birastockNFT: “Alright, so he’s claiming that the protest was sponsored. Fair point, I guess. But here’s my question as a Nigerian: Is the current wave of hardship and hunger also sponsored?”

@wrightmichael90: “Akpabio thinks all this is a joke until the people in his senatorial district barricade am from attending the plenary session. Abuja no too far from Akwa Ibom o”

@official_Goch: “Am shocked to hear that these protests are sponsored. One question is can one fake hunger and starvation? We all should be human and put other poor masses as bait. How would you feel if you can’t provide for your family and kids due to the current hardship, it’s a shame.”

@roomfa: “I hope one reasonable person in government will caution or stop this man from commenting on the ongoing hardship.”

@generahben: “I Dey para Ooo, sponsored what? If suppose I know this man, sheybi I will give him one slap 👋… this is just warning ⚠️”

@hungermadra: “You think you are living the same life as the people you voted in? You think they can relate to your experience?”

@ambroseolowo: “Nigerians are not angry enough, that is why these guys keep telling open lies and get away with it…”

Forefront News recalled that the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, had while addressing his colleagues on Tuesday, claimed that the protesters were not aware of the efforts made by the Senate and the federal government to tackle the situation, saying; “You can see a lot of sponsored protests here and there but those people are not aware. Most of those sponsored protesters are not aware of the kind of efforts made by this senate to tackle the situation together with the management team of the federal government.”

Senator Akpabio was further quoted as saying; “Unverified reports have it that state governments in the last few months have received an additional N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), outside their normal allocations from the federation account, to assist them in ameliorating the food situation. So we believe that every state government should utilise the funds received towards ensuring that food is available.”

He urged the Governor to shun the temptation of diverting the funds for another course different from solving foodstuff scarcity as well as rising hunger and hardship in the land

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