Open Journal of Philosophy
2013. Vol.3, No.1A, 240-247
Published Online February 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Fuel Subsidy Removal in Nigeria: Socio-Religious and
Value Implications Drawn from the Theistic
Humanism of Professor Dukor
Chinyere T. Nwaoga1, K. C. Ani Casimir2
1Department of Religion, Centre for Entrepreunenal Research, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
2Department of Philosophy, Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
Received December 24th, 2012; revised January 20th, 2013; accepted February 7th, 2013
Nigeria is a country blessed with abundant human and material resources. Pre-independent Nigeria had
agriculture as the major foreign exchange and revenue earner. Other alternative revenue earners such as
agricultural and mineral resources were explored and their proceeds used to support and foot the bill of
government expenditures. Immediately the first oil field was discovered in 1956 at Olobiri in the Niger
Delta, other alternative sources of revenue for Nigeria were abandoned and crude oil became the deter-
minant of Nigeria’s mono-economic status and the sole basis of all socio-economic transaction within and
outside the country. The issue of appropriate pricing of petroleum products and the removal of govern-
ment’s subsidy on petroleum price became a thorny controversial public policy issue. Successive gov-
ernments, including the current President, have grappled with this problem of whether to remove the sub-
sidy or not, without coming to a publicly endorsed solution to the debate. The last fuel subsidy removal
on 1st January, 2012 sparked an uprising that almost led to a revolution. The thrust of the study is to ex-
amine the causes of the fuel subsidy removal, to identify the benefits of fuel subsidy removal, to describe
the effects of the subsidy removal, and the socio-religious implications of the removal of fuel subsidy to
the citizens of Nigeria. It is in the context of these socio-religious that one discovers the relevance of Pro-
fessor Dukor theistic humanism and its implied need for African values to be applied to governance in the
21st century. The debate surrounding the subsidy removal and the subsidy scam running into trillions of
Naira of stolen funds by independent marketers of petroleum products revolve around corruption and a
bad commentary about how ethical African vales have been removed from public governance and the
management of public resources. After pointing out these socio-religious implications for the Nigerian
ethical and value re-orientation, the paper went ahead to recommend some ways of managing the subsidy
money for the development of the country.
Keywords: Theistic Humanism; African Values; Socio-Religious Implications; Corruption; Subsidy
Removal; Scam; Benefits; Effects
Introduction-Background to the Study
In Nigeria, the issue of appropriate pricing of petroleum
product has always been a thorny controversial government
policy issue for the past 30 years. Successive governments,
including that of the current President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan,
have grappled with this problem to no avail. Like most other
issues that affect the citizens, there seems to be no other gener-
ally acceptable solution to the teething problems because of the
interplay of politics and economic maneuvers. In the history of
Nigeria, subsidy removal implemented by subsequent govern-
ments and the outcome of the action had negative effects on the
integrity of the regimes. According to Oxford Advanced Learn-
ers Dictionary (1990), subsidy is defined as “the money that is
paid by a government or organization to reduce the cost of ser-
vices or of producing goods so that their prices can be kept
low”. The essence of having subsidy in place for products and
services is that it has direct positive impact on poverty reduc-
tion in the lives of the poor masses who could ill afford high
prices in the light of the harsh conditions under which develop-
ing countries are reeling under globalization. Many subsidies
are made by the government in form of subventions to aid some
businesses, produce essential commodities that would other-
wise reduce prices that are patently unaffordable. In some de-
veloping countries like Nigeria, which has a mono-economy;
petroleum is the main stay of foreign exchange. The issue of
subsidy adjustment is highly a sensitive matter. The major fo-
cus or thrust of this work is to discuss the socio-religious im-
plication of the fuel subsidy removal in Nigeria. According to
Reymond (2012) in toned that, for many Nigerians, the fuel
subsidy removal is merely a symptom of deeper-rooted prob-
lems that exist within the system with a stagnant economy, high
levels of corruption, little or no investment in health, education
or other social amenities, and weak infrastructure, the reaction
of the population did not come as a surprise.
According to Achebe (1983) African political, social, reli-
gious and economic development is fully and squarely the fail-
ure of leadership. Though, government has insisted that the
reason for the fuel subsidy removal is not aimed at causing
hardship on Nigerians but, rather, it is for the benefit of all the
citizens. The Federal Government has maintained that fuel
subsidy will help to open up other sectors for growth and in-
vestment to take place properly. The last fuel subsidy removal
which took place on 1st January, 2012 sparked an uprising that
almost led to a revolution. This ill-timed fuel subsidy removal
regrettably came at the peak of religious festivities. It was
widely rejected by all including religious leaders who con-
demned out rightly the actions of the government. Both the
Christian and Muslim clerics condemned it, though they tacti-
cally helped to diffuse tension by preaching the merits and de-
merits of the fuel subsidy removal.
History of Fuel Subsidy Removal in Nigeria
Nigeria is a nation endowed with abundant human and mate-
rial resources. In the early 1950’s and at independence, Agri-
culture was the chief foreign exchange earner of this nation.
Other mineral deposits like coal, Tin and agricultural resources,
examples rubber, cotton etc, were explored, while their pro-
ceeds used to support the governmental expenses. Immediately
crude oil deposit was discovered in (1956) at Olobiri Delta state,
attention was then diverted to oil exploration and exportation.
As a result of this, huge foreign exchange earnings and reserve
rose to unprecedented promising level. Soon after, other vari-
able areas of reserve earning were abandoned. Fuel now be-
came the determinant of our economic transactions with the rest
of the world. Nowadays, the economy of the country depends
mainly on crude oil.
According to Obasi (2003), he asserted that Petroleum prod-
ucts account for 95% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.
The government has all along been subsidizing the pump price
of petroleum products, such as petrol, kerosene, and diesel to
cushion the effect of poverty and underdevelopment. Recently,
following the global economic downturn in most economies,
the amount paid by the government to subsidize goods and
services were gradually withdrawn to prevent serious economic
failure. In order to avert the total collapse of the economy, the
Federal Government decided to subsidize fuel. Table 1 shows
the history of fuel subsidy removal in Nigeria from 1973-till
date, (2012).
Finally, on January 1st 2012, Nigerians got another wonder-
ful New Year gift when it was again hiked to N141 per liter.
After much protest, and a week old NLC strike that shut down
the economy of Nigeria, the government reduced the price on
January 16th, 2012, to N97 per liter, and that remains the cur-
rent price till date.
Reasons for Fuel Subsidy Removal
Age-long reasons for fuel subsidy removal have been given
by the previous and present administrations. The government
has enumerated so many reasons, one of which is the “cabal”
issue. According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, a cabal is
a group of people conspiring in plotting an illegal or evil activ-
ity. Also, they are few corrupt individuals that are united to
promote their private interest. Therefore, the government
strongly believes that this group is responsible for large scale
corruption in the downstream oil sector. These groups of people
have disregarded the value of Nigerian culture. According to
Dukor (2010), the value of culture in Nigeria goes beyond eth-
nic and norms, for him, values are embedded in African culture
of which corruption is a direct opposition and against norms
and values. It is pertinent at this point to enumerate some of the
reasons for fuel subsidy removal. They include social, economic,
Table 1.
One: showing the history of fuel subsidy removal with different rates
from different Governments in Nigeria (1973-2012). Source: Nairaland
Forum, 2012.
Names of the leadersYear Amount Percentage (%)
Gowon 1973 6 k to 8.5 k 40.8%
Murtala 1976 8.45 k to 9 k 0.59%
Obasanjo 1978 9 k to 15.3 k 70%
Shagari 1982 15.3 k to 20 k 30.71%
Babangida 1986 20 k to 39.5 k 97.5%
Babangida 1988 39.5 k to 42 k 6.33%
Babangida 1989 42 k to 60 k Private vehicle
Babangida 1989 60 k (Uniform Price) 42.86%
Babangida 1991 60 k to 70 k 16.67%
Shonekan 1993 70 k to 5 614%
Abacha 1993 5 to 3.25 k 35%
Abacha 1994 3.25 k to 15 361.54%
Abacha 1994 15 to 11 26.67%
Abubakar 1998 11 to 25 127.27%
Abubakar 1999 25 to 20 20%
Obasanjo 2000 20 to 30 50%
Obasanjo 2000 22 10%
Obasanjo 2002 22 to 26 18.18%
Obasanjo 2003 26 to 42 23.08%
Obasanjo 2004 50 19.05%
Obasanjo 2004 65 30%
Obasanjo 2007 75 15.38%
Yar’Adua 2007 65 15.38%
Jonathan 2012 138 to 250 112.31% to 284.62%
security, health, infrastructure, transportation, communication,
education, technology, job creation, power supply, poverty
alleviation and other social amenities etc.
To Curb Corruption in the Oil Sector
Corruption is one of the major problems affecting every sec-
tor of Nigeria. According to Igwe (2010: p. 13), “corruption has
tragically devastated African societies and made millions of
people destitute. From South Africa to Egypt the tentacles of
corruption reach everywhere. From the offices of presidents
and prime ministers to the smallest administration unit of gov-
ernment corruption is everywhere”. Majority of the citizens
however are eager to see that corruption is eradicated in Nigeria
even though it looks intractable. Also Juliet 2012, quoting
Diezeani in leadership newspaper of 11th January 2012, “cor-
ruption has been one of the burning issues in Nigeria”. It is
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 241
asserted by government that only some people benefit from the
subsidized fuel. These people, they claim, buy Nigerian refined
oil at N65 per liter and smuggle it out to neighboring countries
like Chad Republic and Benin Republic, whose fuel products
are equivalent to N200 per liter. In a situation whereby the sub-
sidy is removed, corruption would be tackled and masses are
likely to benefit from their oil once again. The changes in the
fuel marketing and distribution network will be checked as
several importers and independent marketers, which hitherto
exploited government subsidies, will be eliminated from the
fuel supply chain.
To Create Jobs for the Citizens
President Goodluck Jonathan had job creation as one of his
transformation agendas. The term fuel subsidy entails wealth
creation as it will enhance income, this income, will be trans-
lated into more savings and investment and of course greater
income. This savings and investments are what translate to
development and development leads to fuel subsidy removal of
Jonathan’s administration. He believed that, creating jobs will
help transform the entire economy. According to Abiola in Tell
Magazine of 2012, President Goodluck, during a nationwide
broadcast on January 1st, 2012, said “the aim of the subsidy
removal was meant to create massive employment for the
teeming unemployed youths of Nigeria. Unemployment has
become a major illness ravaging the social fabrics of Nigeria.
Graduates of different categories are storming the labour mar-
ket without any commensurate job opportunity. In fact, unem-
ployment has dragged the idle minds of many youths into so
many social ills to make ends meet. Ituma (2008: p. 23) ob-
served that “corruption in Nigeria cannot be adequately handled
if youth’s development is not adequately addressed”. Therefore,
job creation is one of the responsibilities of a good government.
Nigerian government decided to increase the fuel price to en-
able them to get more money, which will be channeled into
industrialization whereby employment opportunities will be
made available for the youths.
Provision of Steady Power Supply
Power and energy remain the most vital infrastructure needed
to power Nigeria’s development. According to Ngozi (2004: p.
134), the availability of uninterrupted electricity is a sin quo
non for running of businesses in Nigeria. The manufacturing
sector, agro—based industries etc need energy to carry out their
businesses. Ngozi (2004), availability of consistent power will
lower the cost of production, as companies and individuals
engaged in small and medium scale businesses would not have
to rely on generating sets, with attendant high cost of fuel (pet-
rol and diesel). Therefore, one major reason for fuel subsidy
according to Jonathan’s administration is that, when power is
readily accessible and cheap, business concerns will make more
profits and will run at optimum capacity; thereby generating
more money for government through tax, as well as employing
more people.
Poverty Eradication and Alleviation
Poverty is a big problem confronting the third world coun-
tries of which Nigeria falls in. Chuta (2004: p. 56) listed pov-
erty as one of the principal causes of intra-communal crises,
armed robbery and other social vices. The same was acknowl-
edged by Abdulsalami (2009: p. 327) when he reported that the
Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Saad Abubakar II, opined that “poverty
contributed to many crises ravaging the state of Nigeria”. Ac-
cording to the U.N.O. any group of people that lives by less
than one dollar per day is poverty stricken. Recently, the World
Bank had it that more than 100 million Nigerians lives on less
than one dollar per day. All these indices fueled the agitation
for the removal of fuel subsidy by the Nigeria government.
According to Ezeani, (2012: p. 37).
The progress towards the eradication of poverty and hun-
ger in Nigeria has been slow. Although the Gross Domes-
tic Product (GDP) and the rate of economic growth have
improved over the last decade, this has not led to more
jobs or less poverty. For example, the GDP at 1990 con-
stant prices increased from 6.03% in 2006 to 6.60% in
2007 and fell slightly to 5.98% in 2008. The “GDP grew
by 6.96% and 7.87% in 2009 and 2010” (NBS, 2010: p. 8).
The percentage of the population living below the poverty
line increased significantly from 27.2% in 1980 to 69% in
2010. It is obvious that poverty is one of the major prob-
lem facing Nigerians, unless poverty is tackled Nigerian
will continually be underdeveloped.
In line with the above, it is worthy to note that the removal of
fuel subsidy will help to reduce poverty in Nigeria if the money
realized from it will be used judiciously for the common masses
in the country.
Benefits of Fuel Subsidy Removal in Nigeria
If there is one positive thing that has come out of this ex-
perience for Nigerians, it is that it has united Nigerians irre-
spective of class, ethnic, regional and religious divides. It has
brought Muslims and Christians from the north and South to-
gether at a time when the country was going through unrest due
to regional and religious differences. Many are beginning to
understand that these artificial divides are politically motivated
and based on sentiments that can only further divide the country.
In addition, for the first time ever, young men and women, the
unemployed and employed across board were chanting the
same tune. The masses spoke against real issues that affect all
citizens and holding leaders accountable for their activities
which was one of the ways to achieve meaningful socio- eco-
nomic development, stability and lasting peace in the country.
These benefits include, the creation of a better foreign invest-
ment climate and infrastructural development.
Improvement of the Economy by Creating Favorable
Climate for Investment
There is no serious investor that will like to plunge his capi-
tal into a regulated oil industry. It is only when there is full
deregulation that it can attract investors to build refineries and
develop the other downstream sectors. For the idea of saying no
deregulation is like “wanting to eat our cake and still have it”.
Also, as its removal creates conducive climate for investment, it
will give room for a competitive market, and the result of such
is a continual drop in prices of petroleum products to the de-
light of Nigerians. Take for instance, the telecommunication
sector; due to the fact that it was deregulated, we are now left
with several options from where to choose the most suitable
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
and preferred network services.
Infrastructural Development
The savings accruing from the withdrawal of oil subsidy,
could now be fully channeled to key sectors of the national
economy, like education, steady water supply, electricity, good
road, good healthcare services, agriculture etc. which virtually
have been receiving little attention in the past budget alloca-
tions. These can help enhance the standard of living of Nigeri-
ans and will also open more ways of improving the economy of
Negative Effect of Fuel Subsidy
Removal in Nigeria
Effect according to English mini dictionary is defined as “a
change produced by an action or other cause”. Thus, it involves
the outcome or implication of an action which can be negative
or positive results or outcome of an action but involves or en-
tails both. The effects of the fuel subsidy are as follows.
Increase in the Cost of Living
Usually, whenever there is increase in pump price of fuel it is
immediately followed by increase in other services. The effect
of the subsidy removal extended to other social spheres of life,
ranging from increase in school fees, transportation fare; house
rent etc. According to Kalu (2011), fuel as an industrial com-
modity is also important to other sectors of man’s activities.
Removing the oil subsidy is like removing two square meals
from the tables of over one hundred and forty million Nigerians.
Immediately the subsidy was removed and the price of fuel
increased, there was multiple increases of goods and services in
Nigeria, e.g., there was astronomical increase in tuition fees,
transportation, house rents, food items, and other basic com-
modities. This gave room for multiple increases of goods and
services in Nigeria.
Mistrust of the Government
Nigerians are no longer comfortable with the promises of the
Government. During the Eight (8) years of Obasanjo’s admini-
stration the pump price of fuel was increased by the Govern-
ment promising to improve the Nation’s economy, infrastruc-
ture and create jobs for the youths. But till date, little or nothing
was achieved. According to (Adogah, 2011), he maintained that
this is a typical scene of how Government pays the people in
return after removing the partial subsidies in the past. Because
of this, the people now had reasons to mistrust what the Gov-
ernment said concerning fuel subsidy removal in Nigeria. Ac-
cording to Onoho, in Guardian newspaper (2012), one of the
analogies in public policy is illustrated by the statement of
Mario Soares upon his assumption for the second time in office
as the Prime Minister of Portugal in 1983. He told his country-
men that his government will be austere, uncompromising, and
unpopular. According to him, this is what he required to
achieve the economic recovery of Portugal”. Unfortunately, this
was against the manifesto of the Goodluck’s administration
prior to his coming into office; he had in his manifesto that the
price of fuel will be reduced from N65.00 to N40.00. This made
a lot of people to vote for him. The President was a beneficiary
of the civil society struggle for good governance but with the
recent increase in fuel price, he has made his government un-
popular and some people cannot trust his government again.
Though Nigeria is one of the richest oil producing countries in
the world, but 70% of its citizens are living below poverty line.
Increase in Crimes/Civic Disturbance
There was insecurity, robbery, bomb blast, kidnapping, hos-
tility and many others among the citizenry during and after the
removal of fuel subsidy in Nigeria. Suffice to say that kidnap-
ping has never been part of Nigerian culture, but due to hard-
ship, some people decided to employ themselves by indulging
in different types of crimes. This therefore, increases the crime
rate in Nigeria which destroys the image of the Nation both
inside and outside the country. According to Adeola (2012),
Nigeria is one of the highest rated corrupt Nations in the World.
The Looming Insecurity Problem
Security is paramount for the sustenance of any society.
Ngozi (2004: p. 137) noted that, the lives and property of the
citizens and other residents must be protected by the govern-
ment, because no nation can survive in a state of anomie. Since
the inception of the present democracy in 1999, the Nigeria
nation has been bedeviled with a lot of security crisis. These
include armed robbery, ritual killings, religious riots, commu-
nity and tribal wars, kidnapping and outright sabotage of Nige-
rian economy through the destruction of oil installations by
Niger Delta Militants. Therefore, in other to put an end to this
already problems of insecurity in the country became one major
tenet for fuel subsidy removal according to Goodluck Jonathan’
Increase in Poverty
There is no firm meaning of poverty because it is a physical
matter and relative in nature. Ngozi (2004) quoting Kennet
Gailbraith, those affected by poverty have: 1) Insufficient food;
2) Poor clothing; and 3) They live in crowded and dirty shelter.
Nevertheless, the believing is that, fuel subsidy removal, will
overhaul and complicate the pattern of living of the populace.
The removal will skyrocket the prices of goods and services in
the country. From purchasing a car to buying salt and maggi,
the story has been the same as even a grandmother that sells
firewood has subsidy removal for the excuse of her price in-
crease. So the order of the day became a reign of hardship and
pain, especially on the common man who is either unemployed
or is seated below the very meager minimum wage.
Widening of the Communication Gap between People
and Institutions
The primary lubricant of social life is communication. In the
wake of the fuel subsidy removal, transportation costs skyrock-
eted to about 250% and even telecom service providers threat-
ened to increase their tariffs or call rates since most of their
activities depends on petrol for their powering. The above sce-
narios being the case, the communication link between people
and institutions was hampered.
Increase in Social Vices
As a result of the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy, hard-
ship became the order of the day making some people do dirty
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 243
jobs like prostitution; armed robbery etc. Bribery and corrup-
tion came on the increase as fraudsters are now hanging all
around the streets lying in wait for the next catch. Social vices
are on the increase, the safety and well-being of the entire na-
tion is hanging on a balance as Boko-Haram, kidnapping etc.
are the order of the day. This was in accordance with what John
Kockels, in Dukor (2010). According to him, there is no natural
proactivity of men to hurt one another.
Effects of Fue l Subsi dy Removal
Nigeria is a country with multi ethnic groups. These ethnic
groups have different cultures, religion, values and norms. Be-
cause of these differences, Muslims, especially their funda-
mentalists perceived it as a ploy by the President who is a
Christian to inflict pains on them. The perception has deepened
the level of religious tension in the country thereby affecting
the possibility of peace and tranquility that this country de-
serves. If the rejection of subsidy had not gotten opposition
from the masses, it would have been broadly gotten from the
Muslims on the grounds that their religion is against the west,
and the policy of deregulation which predominantly affects
Christians generally.
The effect of the removal of subsidy has on religion is the
fact that it creates a gap between the two dominant religions
and makes the one apprehensive of the other. Since the increase
in fuel subsidy, there has been increase in the burning of
churches by the so—called Boko Haram groups. The security
and peace of the Nation Nigeria is threatened. With this condi-
tion of strife, conflicts are imminent and the unity of the coun-
try is particularly threatened, contestation still rises over the
faulty unification arrangement process of Nigeria and this issue
seems to fan the embers of the contestations.
There is no doubt that most of the so called “mushroom”
Pentecostal churches, especially those at their infant stage will
lose down completely or be affected adversely, loose some or
most of its members as a result of the socio-political cum eco-
nomic effects of this subsidy. Many religious (church) pro-
grammes will either stop or be greatly affected due to its eco-
nomic consequences, hence inability to raise funds for its pro-
Moreover, due to restrictions in movements, church pro-
grammes both in and outside the country were highly mini-
mized, because of the hike in transportation and insecurity in
the country. Indirectly, the fuel subsidy removal affected peo-
ple’s faith and beliefs. Some people began to question if actu-
ally God answers prayers.
Poor Maintenance of Churches/Church Leaders
The Church is not a business enterprise. According to CBN-
EDC resource material (2009), a business enterprise is defined
as an operating entity within a business environment aimed at
making profit, gain from buying and selling of goods and ser-
vices rendered. From the above definition, the Church is only
maintained from offerings, tithes from Church members,
Churches are not supported by the Government. Attendance of
church members was affected because of the fuel price hike,
the impact of these was felt in almost all the churches. Exam-
ple, reduction in offerings and tithes, which affected the wel-
fare of church workers. Therefore, the aforementioned socio-
religious effects and many other affected church activities in
the country.
Rise of Religious Tension in the North
Due to the mixed reaction of Muslims in the North, as a re-
sult of the fuel subsidy removal, there was high sense of fear of
the unknown for the Christians, because Muslims now see
Christians as birds of the same flock, starting from the president.
Following the incident of the crisis that strut up, after the elec-
tions, there was tensed atmosphere and the possibility of such,
repeating itself, for virtually the Muslims dominate in such part
of the nation. As soon as the subsidy was removed, the Boko
Haram sect ordered the Westerners, Easterners to leave the
northern states for them. These subsidy removal mounted reli-
gious tension especially in Northern part of Nigeria. The up-
surge in civil disobedience widened the fear of insecurity as the
Boko Haram sect used the opportunity to increase public ter-
rorist attacks because of the fuel price increase. This public
attacks and insecurity hada negative impact on the economic,
social, political and religious life of the country, Lawson,
Impact on Pilgrimage Patronage
Aside the major pilgrimage visits to Mecca and Jerusalem,
there abound numerous local pilgrimage centers. According to
Wikipedia, Pilgrimage centers are places where people meet to
pray in group to strengthen their religious consciousness. Ex-
amples of these pilgrimages include: Fr. Edeh’s Monthly pil-
grimages at Elele, River State. Fr. Mbaka’s weekly Adoration
in Enugu, the Pastor David Oyedepo’s yearly winners Conven-
tion in Ogun State, Conference experience in Lagos, Rev fr
Obayi’s Friday prayers etc. The expenditure people undertake
to feature in these activities is so much that the incidence of
fuel price hike will make it much more exorbitant, thus dis-
suading people from participating. As a result, the noble func-
tion of faith strengthening which pilgrimages perform is lost to
the occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy.
Breakdown/Decadence of the Moral Order/Values
The concept of theistic humanism gives us the two sets of
African emanate from the religious beliefs of Africans and
affect their behavior in the society. The first set are those ethi-
cal or axiological values whereas the second set constitute aes-
thetic and artistic values that define the non-moral normative
values found in African philosophy embedded in folklores,
proverbs and wise sayings on one hand and on the other hand
are propositions within the kinship or communalistic system
(Dukor, 2010: pp. 15-16). The unique concept of African cul-
tural values has a dialectical relationship with theistic human-
ism as propounded by Professor Maduabuchi Dukor as it is the
defining principle of African cultural values and from it springs
what he calls the community values of kinship, extended family,
communitarianism and social values. At the same time theistic
humanism gives rise to the second set known as aesthetic val-
ues such as food and work habit, agricultural and architectural
values, music, artistic values and celebration of life. He called
the first set “community consciousness” while he called the
second as “aesthetic consciousness” with both having their
roots in “the religious, scientific and existential value” which he
called theistic humanism. Both consciousness—the community
and the aesthetic—complement and supplement each as they
are not exclusive but inclusive in their functional cooperation,
collaboration and synergy in maintaining the happiness, peace,
security and progress of the African society.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
It is an existential truism that the religious institutions are the
custodian of morality, which is largely responsible for the
seeming social order enjoyed in other spheres of social life.
However, the removal of fuel subsidy has some untold hardship
on the people leading to their being left with no option than to
avoid calls by their religious leaders to adhere to the moral code.
As such, increase in the crime wave, prostitution, drug traffick-
ing and addiction, kidnapping and other vices became the order
of the day in Nigeria, Shed (2011). Two sets of individual ac-
tors were indicted as engaging in corrupt activities that led to
the fuel subsidy scam and crisis. These are the petroleum mar-
keters who made claims that they supplied fuel but it was later
discovered that none was supplied. They were paid for unsup-
plied fuel and the public suffered for this scam. The second set
of indicted actors were officers of the Ministry of petroleum
who gave licenses to individuals who did not have any petrol
distribution stations and paid them for unsupplied claims from
public revenue. Nigerians suffered and paid higher prices when
the subsidy was removed. These individuals exhibited a public
behavior system that demonstrated an ethical loss of human
values, a loss that is unmistakably un-African, un-philosophical,
un-religious and un-ethical as run counter the basic tenets of
theistic humanism of professor Dukor’s propositions in his new
African philosophy. The Church, in keeping with its value–
re-orientation mandate in African philosophy and the funda-
mental framework of theistic humanism, came out publicly
during the crisis to create an environment for peace-building to
take place and save the day from degenerating into another
“Arab spring” in Nigeria.
The Role of the Church in Alleviating the Negative
Effect of the Subsidy Removal on the Masses
Religion is noted for its ability to diffuse tension when things
go wrong. According to Okwueze (2012: p. 60), “religious
leaders cannot keep mute at a time when social change is noth-
ing but that which is achievable within the framework of tradi-
tionally conservative norms, and when political and economic
developments are regarded as foolish ventures”. Therefore,
during all these crisis period, the church played a lot of respon-
sible roles which helped to caution the effect of the riots and the
roles are as follows:
1) Prayers of intercession were said in almost all the
churches in Nigeria, asking for God’s intervention.
2) Some churches brought out palliative measures for their
members to help cushion the effects of the subsidy removal.
Examples are, buses were brought out at no cost to take wor-
shippers to churches and back home after service.
3) The clergies made it a point of duty to preach on the posi-
tive and negative effects of the subsidy, warning the people not
to be violent about the government’s decision.
4) During the period and till date, some religious organiza-
tions are still giving out alms to the less privileged to help them
take care of their immediate needs.
5) Through organized public preaching during the street pro-
tests and strikes, a good number of people changed their
thoughts concerning the fuel subsidy. Okwueze (2012: p. 97)
asserted that religion no doubt influences the thought processes
of an individual as a person’s religious view and beliefs could
control an individual in many different ways. Religion is a
strong unifying factor in the society. The followers always be-
lieve in the preaching of their clergies. The church played a
major role to see that there was peace throughout the period of
fuel subsidy removal and that the sometime violent street pro-
tests did not eventually generate anarchy and instability in the
There is no doubt that there could be some possible advan-
tages coming out of the removal of the subsidy on petroleum
products in Nigeria. There could be improvements in infra-
structures, healthcare, education etc. There is also an under-
standing among Nigerians that the government has the authority
and power to enact and implement policies that would promote
the common good for the welfare of the masses. But the crux of
the matter is the crisis of confidence that characterize the rela-
tionship between the government and the common man on the
street. Crisis of confidence exists where no iota of truth is
vested on the government following the previous government
failures to implement other magnified policies. A good number
of reasons abound why the lack of confidence exists. For in-
stance, the removals of subsidy on gas, yet Nigerians have not
seen the impact of the removal. According to Guardian news-
paper of 28th December (2011), Agbon, explained that, the
“true cost of one litre of petrol in Nigeria is around N34, 03". It
is certainly less than the official price of N65 per litre. His logic
is sound, since the true price of petrol using government figure
is around N34.03 per litre, therefore, there is no petrol subsidy.
Rather there are high sales of 91% at current prices of N65 per
litre. In other words, a litre of fuel in Nigeria is not more than
The Government has strong argument to support its policy
changes, to a certain extent they can be justified, but the Gov-
ernment must now deliver on its promise to its people in order
to regain its credibility. This is not the first time oil subsidy has
been removed in the country, and it is not the first time the
Government has committed to investing the subsidy funds into
social amenities such as health, education, and much needed
infrastructure in various sectors such as transport and power.
Nigerians are now completely disillusioned with the empty
promises, and are closely watching the Government’s next
steps. It is because of this that we outline these recommenda-
1) A starting point for the Government will be to focus on
repairing its rundown refineries and bringing an end to the
senseless system of importing 85% of the oil needed for its own
domestic consumption.
2) It needs to learn lessons from other more developed oil
producing countries. The issue of the exorbitant salaries of
legislators should be properly addressed. According to Roseline
Okereke in Guardian Newspaper of 14th July (2012), Nigerian
legislators are among the highest paid in the world. The dis-
connect between the minimum income of N18, 000 ($118) and
the average salary of a senator in Nigeria is N15.18m ($99,167)
per month is completely unjustified and unjust. With GDP per
capita of $2500, Nigeria is classified as one of the poorest
countries in the world. Yet its legislators’ salaries are more than
those of their counter parts in USA, UKs, France and Sweden.
3) Nigerian Government must invest in its people and focus
on addressing the country’s huge economic problems, provid-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 245
ing jobs and basic social amenities such as good education,
healthcare, and much needed infrastructure. The government
should also tax high income individuals’ in order to raise reve-
nues for urgent pro-poor investments and a fairer society.
4) The Government must also focus on the security chal-
lenges facing the country under the guise of ethno-political and
pseudo-religious movement. USIP, in recent article related to
the subsidy removal; stated that “severe domestic economic
shocks in conflict-affected countries, like Nigeria, could have
dire and potentially destabilizing socio-economic consequences.
5) The government should also provide a functional railway
for its citizens, with this; traffic jam will reduce and therefore,
will go a long way impacting on the commercial activities of
those in the hinterland. Formally, the Nigeria Corporation
Railway (NRC) was among the parastatals that could be ranked
as the highest employer of labour in the country. Not just pro-
viding job, Nigerian Railway Corporation was initially a major
means of transportation which has helped tremendously in re-
ducing the prices of goods and commodities in the market.
6) The removal of fuel subsidy should not be a bad thing, but
certain things ought to have been in place before government
takes the step. Removing oil subsidy is not a problem; the
problem is to plough back the revenue that will accrue from it
into critical areas. The money from the subsidy should be
managed so that the masses can have their own benefits either
directly or indirectly.
The problem of the nation is not oil subsidy or inadequate
revenue generation. The problem is actually that the ones gen-
erated are diverted into private hands and pockets in corruption
enrichment. Example, the case of (Farouk and Otedola) in Sun
Newspaper of July 9th 2012. The religious clerics both in the
churches and mosques have repeatedly preached against it.
Also, there is no basis for Nigeria not to have built a new refin-
ery since 1984. Part of the money from the subsidy should be
used in building new refineries.
There is so much to be learnt from the reactions of the
masses in the fuel subsidy removal. These include the need for
government to carry the people along its policies. Government
should realize that it holds power in trust for the people and any
decision or policy taken without their support will meet a
strong opposition. Therefore, trust is indispensable in govern-
ance. There is urgent need to fast-track the Petroleum Industry
Bill (PIB). The Bill seeks to, among other things; remove the
entire bottle-necks that hamper an effective deregulation of the
oil sector.
Most importantly, the government should bear in mind that
the gods are the watch—dogs of the societal morality. Thus,
this was agreed by Dukor (2010),
That the existential pragmatic culture of the Africans lies
in their closeness to nature and living by the dictates of
natural law and gods. The gods are guardian of societal
morality, though God is ultimate. The people try as much
as possible not to commit any offence against their gods.
Or society for that would bring metaphysical evil. The
gods are the watchdogs of the societal morality and law …
gods are involved as witnesses to any event, bond or
Therefore, those who divert oil money meant for 100 million
Nigerians should have a rethink and to remember that theistic
humanism has both religio-ethical implications for the stability
and sustainable development of the African society as it shows
that corrupt anti-social activities or policies are against the fun-
damental human values for which African philosophy has be-
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