The Catholic Church in Nigeria and civil society organisations (CSOs) in the country have kicked against the move by the federal government to sell off prized national oil assets in an attempt make up for the revenue decline in the face of a deepening recession.
They also took a swipe at the Senate over calls by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, urging the federal government to sell off major national assets including the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG.
The call has pitted the senate president and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, and other critical stakeholders who vehemently opposed the idea.
The executive director of Caritas International, an arm of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Reverend Father Evaristus Bassey, has said the clamour for the sale of national assets by some members of the executive, National Assembly and key private sector players was completely wrong and do not represent the aspirations of Nigerians in any form.
“We seem to disagree with such calls for the sale of national assets; we cannot accept such extremist capitalist views. We cannot subscribe to such views because you cannot sell national assets to private hands,” Father Bassey said.
He contended that in most cases involving either privatisation or sale of national assets, “the process has often not been transparent, it’s like selling the national assets to a few hands.
“We have not developed to the extent where government will sell off national assets and interest to private individuals,” Bassey observed.
The executive director of African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, also lambasted those calling for the sale of national assets.
He told ThisDay that “that will be the most reckless, selfish and stupid clamor. Historically, governments all over the world have been involved in one form of public enterprise or the other. We also know that there are challenges with management of public enterprises but all over the world, new methods have been designed for effective corporate governance of public enterprises.
“In the Nigerian situation, public enterprises have fared very poorly leading to clamor for privatisation but we are all living experiences to what privatisation has done for us.”