It is sad to imagine that Nigeria, being one of the most populous black nations in the world, still struggles to proffer solutions to the persistent and lingering fuel crisis, specifically because the nation is among the first-five oil-producing nations in the world.
Since the nation discovered its first oil in 1973 at Oloibiri, in Ogbia LGA of Bayelsa State, a few kilometers from Port Harcourt, ordinary Nigerians have failed to enjoy from the gains of this great resource.
It is also clear that some of the past and present presidents and military heads of state that have had the opportunity of governing the nation tend to pay deaf ears to the development of some grey areas like communities within the country through the proper channeling and distribution of this oil product.
As commander in chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Buhari can set up a special committee and task force that will be saddled with the responsibility of figuring out the solution to Nigerians waiting on queue almost weekly for low amounts of petrol in most cases.
Why must Nigerians buy a liter of fuel for 120, 150, 180, 200, 300 and 500 naira, while 70.8 percent of the population is living on less than one dollar a day and 92.4 percent on less than two dollars a day? Why must the government allow their people to suffer unjustly, will there be an end to this grief?
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, once declared that Nigerians were now paying for the sins of the past government. He said the Jonathan (former President Goodluck Jonathan) government owed oil marketers huge debts in oil subsidy payments; such that they have stopped importing the product in the last couple of months, hence the biting scarcity. Why not refine the oil ourselves?
“What I will be telling Nigerians is that what we met on ground is such that we are paying for the sins of the last administration. I am being very serious. You remember that about some weeks ago, we had to go to the National Assembly for a supplementary budget of N674 billion. Of that figure, N522billion was for arrears of fuel subsidy which was incurred as far back as August last year.
One of the reasons for the fuel scarcity was the inability of the last government to make adequate provisions for fuel subsidies. We do face some other logistic problems but majorly, we are paying for the sins of the last administration” Mohammad said.
The scarcity of petrol has helped in worsening the already troubled economy. The scarcity has forced many citizens, who need petrol for their cars and to power their electric generators, to buy the product on the black market sometimes at a 500 percent increase in price!
Nigerians now wander in total darkness without constant electricity and fuel as only the few who can afford the price, light up their house at night. Sadly, the impact of this fuel crisis has made some schools, universities, hospitals, churches and mosques run within certain periods, something which shouldn’t have to have occurred at all.
Often times, a slight increase in the price of fuel at the pump directly or indirectly has a drastic effect on the prices of goods and services, of which it’s not beneficiary to a large percentage of Nigerians, as they are the major victims.
Perhaps, it’s a shame that a nation that has three refineries such as Kaduna Refinery (NNPC), 110,000 bbl/d (17,000 m3/d), Port Harcourt Refinery (NNPC), 210,000 bbl/d (33,000 m3/d) and Warri Refinery (NNPC), 125,000 bbl/d (19,900 m3/d) can’t refurbish these refineries swiftly, for the interest of consumption and the masses.
If the Federal Government can’t find a solution to the fuel scarcity that has consistently been a nightmare, then it would be ideal for them to encourage other small industries who have the resources to refine crude oil to engage them.
In spite of the billions of dollars being spent on the importation and exportation of this product by the past and present day government, the people still suffer for what should have been an easy acquired commodity (EAC) due to insincerity and wide corruption on the part of the government.
On paper, Nigeria has what it takes to turn around her dwindling fortune to stand among nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, the U.S.A, and Germany considering the fact that it has been blessed with rich natural resources.