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Text of a Press Release Issued by the Board of Directors of ActionAid Nigeria after a Review of the State of the Nation at its 52nd Board Meeting in April 2024

Jummai Umar-Ajijola

Text of a Press Release Issued by the Board of Directors of ActionAid Nigeria after a Review of the State of the Nation

ActionAid Nigeria’s Board of Directors conducted a comprehensive review of the state of the nation during its 52nd meeting and highlighted critical issues affecting the Nation.

The Board of Directors recognises that Nigeria is grappling with one of its most challenging periods in recent history. The period between December 2023 and March 2024 has been characterised by soaring inflation rates, fluctuating foreign exchange regime, escalating security challenges, electricity shutdown and power failures, and pervasive corruption in all tiers of government, culminating in a dire state of the economy and cost-of-living crisis. Nigeria’s current situation is seemingly grim and poverty levels are projected to soar.

Therefore, ActionAid Nigeria’s Board of Directors recommends that:

  1. The federal government must now take bold and decisive measures to combat the rampant inflation, particularly the soaring food prices, by swiftly implementing robust monetary and fiscal policies. It must also reevaluate subsidy policies on essential commodities like gasoline and electricity to mitigate the adverse impact on the cost of living and ensure equitable distribution of resources. Now is the time for a thorough review of budget allocations to ensure sufficient funding of critical sectors such as health, agriculture, security, and education, while minimising expenditures on debt servicing and expanding and strengthening social welfare programmes.
  2. Given the increase in the interest rate to 24.75% by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), we urge the Federal Government and CBN to take immediate action to mitigate the adverse effects of the increased interest rates on small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), particularly by providing alternative funding sources or financial support schemes for SMEs to access affordable loans.
  3. In the light of the alarming trend of mass kidnappings, particularly targeting students, internally displaced persons (IDPs), as well as ordinary citizens and health workers, with ransom demands reaching into the millions of naira, we demand that the federal and state governments allocate substantial resources and manpower to bolster security forces and intelligence capabilities. We urge security agencies to mobilise all available resources, enhance coordination between different levels of law enforcement, conduct thorough investigations to apprehend all individuals involved in kidnapping operations, and prioritise the safety and security of communities, schools, roads and IDP camps through increased surveillance and patrols.
  4. The Board of Directors strongly condemns the alarming allegations of budget padding and the mismanagement of public funds as reported within the Senate. The allegations of corrupt practices within the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, involving the two immediate former Ministers, are also appalling. We enjoin all CSOs and Nigerians to join us in reminding and calling out lawmakers and public officers that the welfare and interest of the Nigerian populace supersede their personal agendas. Any endeavors aimed at circumventing this principle or diverting public funds for personal gains warrant prompt and resolute intervention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). While we applaud the recent anti-corruption efforts of the EFCC, we find the reported actions of some lawmakers and government appointees deeply concerning. Therefore, we ask that the EFCC and ICPC expedite their inquiries into these matters, ensuring that all individuals found culpable are held fully accountable under the law. The judiciary must also expedite legal proceedings and administer fair and impartial judgments in  corruption  cases and abuse of office without delay to send a clear message that corruption will not be tolerated in our society.
  5. The Board applauds the deliberate steps being taken by government to guarantee the independence of the  judiciary with the appointment, confirmation and swearing in of eleven new justices of the Supreme Court to make up the full complement of the apex court which has been lacking for years. We are also gratified by the recent new salary structure put in place for  judicial officers, all of which, we hope will enhance the independence and integrity of the judiciary.
  6. 6.The Board of Directors applauds the Federal Government for the recent appreciation of the naira. The significant appreciation of the Nigerian Naira against the US dollar reflects the success of collaborative efforts and strategic interventions by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stabilize and strengthen our national currency. We urge continued support and adherence to sound monetary policies, transparency, and accountability in the financial sector to sustain this progress.
  7. The recurrent breakdowns of the national power grid, coupled with the recent approval by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to increase electricity tariffs for customers are unacceptable. The elimination of electricity subsidies will significantly compound the hardships endured by ordinary Nigerians, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and investors. The Board of Directors demands that the Federal Government conduct comprehensive reforms within the energy sector to address the persistent challenges faced by Nigerians, thereby enhancing electricity generation, transmission, and distribution capacities to mitigate power shortages. We are also demanding a thorough review of energy subsidy policies to ensure efficiency and equitable distribution of resources, taking into account the impact on low-income households and the broader economy.
  8. The Board of Directors commends the readiness to implement the Orosanye report and white paper; however, we insist that President Tinubu's administration ensures it follows through with the implementation of the recommendations in the report and the white paper. This is particularly critical given the President's overload with 47 Ministers and hundreds of aides, all benefiting from the nation's resources. The Federal Government must demonstrate commitment to cutting down on  executive profligacy and the people must be more proactive in holding their representatives in the National Assembly accountable for their financial recklessness.
  9. The Board of Directors condemns in strong terms the ambush and killing of 17 military personnel in Okouma, Delta state and ,demands swift and thorough action to bring the perpetrators of the ambush and murder to justice. We call on the Nigerian security forces to intensify their efforts in apprehending those responsible and ensure that they face the full weight  of the law. In doing this however, we enjoin the military to operate within the ambits of the law and respect the rights of the people. Community leaders and residents are implored to assist in these efforts by providing any relevant information they may have and promote peace and dialogue within their communities.
  10. The Board of Directors also urges civil society organisations (CSOs) to amplify their voices and advocate more for accountability, transparency, and social justice in response to the pressing issues in the nation. 


Jummai Umar Ajijola

Chair, Board of Directors

ActionAid Nigeria