Continuous fuel scarcity, FG’s subsidy removal tactic – HURIWA

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Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA)on Thursday, lambasted the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari over the persistent fuel scarcity experienced in parts of the country, saying it is a tactical way of blackmailing Nigerians to accept fuel price adjustment by government.

HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the government is apparently satisfied with the extortion by fuel markers at filling stations, with some selling Premium Motor Spirit aka petrol for as high as N500 per litre to desperate motorists and Nigerians whose lives and businesses depends on petrol – either for their vehicles or for generating sets to power their businesses.

The group said it is unfortunate that for about two months now, the fuel crisis caused by the criminal importation and distribution of dirty petrol has not abated despite the monopoly of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company.

HURIWA recalled that the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government in January 2022, after overwhelming public outcry, said it had suspended the planned petrol subsidy removal expected to kick off by June this year.

Just days after, adulterated petrol hit the distribution channels in the country, making petrol to consequently be in short supply.

For about two months, long, snake-like queues have dotted filling stations all over the country with attendant spike in transport fares and inflation on goods and services, making life unbearably hard for Nigerians.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “It is very unfortunate that despite the months-long queues and scarcity, the same NNPC officials under whose watch the scandal happened are the same persons grandstanding and purporting to be solving the gigantic problem they created. One report said NNPC requires N201 billion to clean up its mess.

“The President who doubles as the Minister of Petroleum Resources should have sacked all executives at NNPC by now for blatant failure. Buhari himself should shamefully resign his strategic portfolio and appoint a competent fellow. The present moribund refineries seven years into Buhari’s tenure is also shameful and the cause of the current hardship.

“It is curious that days after announcing that it had suspended the planned petrol subsidy removal, adulterated fuel hit the country and petrol scarcity followed. HURIWA strongly believe that the whole charade is a tactical way of blackmailing Nigerians to accept fuel price adjustment by government. The fuel queues have been perennial and dangerous scenarios have been seen with young boys everywhere wielding jerry cans of fuel that poses heavy risks to the lives of Nigerians.

“The corruption in the administration of fuel subsidy since Muhammadu Buhari came is one of the major reasons for the humongous amount spent as subsidy without accountability. Nigerians must take steps to compel the government to end the fuel scarcity by staging civil disobedience acts such as blocking federal and state government houses with their cars instead of waiting endlessly in filling stations for fuel. The failure of Nigerians to opt for civil disobedience and protests is the cause of the deterioration of the economic crises in Nigeria including widening spectre of corruption by government officials.

“Nigerians must take their destinies into their hands and wrestle it from the fist of corrupt and selfish politicians. With high costs of living, ballooning poverty, unemployment of youths that has led to irregular migration, it is high time Nigerians take their fate in their hands and use legitimate and constitutional means to force the hands of government to change the negative policies inflicting pains on Nigerians.”

Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA)
March 10, 2022

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