Wednesday, 17 July 2024.

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Kenya’s Mass Protest: A Warning Sign for Nigerian Leaders

As Kenya faces widespread protests against the government’s finance bill, Nigerian leaders would do well to take heed of the warning signs. The proposed bill, which includes a controversial tax increase, has sparked outrage among Kenyans who feel it is insensitive to their economic struggles.

The scenario bears striking similarities to Nigeria’s current situation, where subsidy removal, rising taxes, increasing interest rates, and electricity tariff hikes have combined to erode citizens’ purchasing power.

President William Ruto’s decision to suspend subsidy removal in Kenya, citing inflation and economic hardship, stands in stark contrast to President Tinubu’s approach in Nigeria. Despite this move, Kenyan citizens continue to express their outrage and frustration with the government’s economic policies, demonstrating that the subsidy removal suspension has not alleviated their concerns.

On the contrary, Nigerians have shown remarkable patience with the government, anticipating that the economic benefits of the administration’s policies will soon materialise. However, the situation in Kenya should serve as a poignant warning. It is perceived that Kenya’s challenges may be less severe than Nigeria yet the public’s frustration has still boiled over into protests.

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In Nigeria today, basic necessities like bread, garri, rice, and beans are now unaffordable for many Nigerians. Hunger and malnutrition are on the rise, with a mudu of beans costing over N3,000 and a basin of garri going for over N50,000.

Our leaders should be reminded that if Nigeria’s economic situation does not improve, the youth may once again take to the streets in frustration. The memories of the #EndSARS protests are still fresh, and another such uprising would have devastating consequences for the country.

It is important that the government addresses the economic hardship and takes more urgent concrete steps to alleviate the suffering of its citizens, starting with the reduction of the price of petrol, reduction in electricity, reasonable increase of the minimum, etc. The Kenyan example serves as a reminder that ignoring the people’s plight can lead to widespread unrest and instability.

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