The Federal Government has been given a seven-day ultimatum by the oil marketers in the country to settle outstanding debts totalling N800 billion.
The marketers, comprising Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) and Independent Petroleum Products Importers (IPPIs), said if the federal government fails to meet their demand, depots would cease operation across the country.
When I read this report, I thought to myself, not again! Why must we experience fuel scarcity every Christmas period? Last year’s fuel scarcity in December was one of the worst ever in history of the country.
As usual, the NNPC is telling us not to panic, saying they have enough supply. Believe that at your own peril. That’s the usual rhetoric from NNPC. They told us the same thing last year and for more than three months last year, which spilled into the new year, Nigerians experienced an arduous Christmas and New Year celebration. The more they kept telling us not to panic, the more the fuel queues kept increasing .
However, this blackmail by the oil marketers must stop.This economic terrorism is no longer funny. Every end of the year, they come up with very flimsy excuses to downtool. They know it’s impossible for the government to pay them the N800billion subsidy arrears in a week. They have been on this payment for almost a year. Where do they expect the government to get the funds in just seven days. In their warped thinking, this is the perfect time to hold the government by the balls. They know their request will get a speedy response because Christmas is around the corner and secondly it’s campaign season. If we experience another fuel scarcity during the Christmas season, it will be a worthy campaign tool in the hands of the opposition.
The cycle of fuel scarcity needs to be broken once and for and all. The government has two options. The first is total deregulation of the sector and the second is to build new refineries.The scam called turn around maintainance should stop.The money that successive governments had used for turn around maintainance would have built a refinery.
Consequently, states like Rivers Lagos and Ogun should be encouraged and allowed to build refineries. Once every region or state has a refinery, this cycle of fuel scarcity would stop. The government should not rely on Dangote’s refinery. We well know that Dangote is a business man and they are no guarantees he will sell it to Nigerians. If our neighbours are offering more, he will sell to them.
FRSC Please You Are Not A Revenue Generating Agency
Federal Road Safety Corps, which is the government agency Saddled with statutory responsibilities for road safety administration in Nigeria, was Founded in 1988, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) operates in all Nigerian states as well as the Federal Capital Territory and is the lead agency in Nigeria on road safety administration and management.
The statutory functions include: making the highways safe for motorists and other road users as well as checking road worthiness of vehicles, recommending works and infrastructures to eliminate or minimise accidents on the highways and educating motorists and members of the public on the importance of road discipline on the highways.
However, 30 years on, the commission has shifted from its core mandate and is now concentrating on revenue generation. I like what happened last week when the federal government slashed the price of JAMB and NECO. According to the minister of education, Adamu Adamu, these agencies are not revenue generating agencies.
The same principle should be applied to the FRSC. Instead of controlling traffic, you will see them hiding in dangerous corners to catch drivers unawares.
They keep changing number plates and introducing all kinds of money generating ideas and you keep wondering if their mandate has been changed to a revenue generating agency.
In spite of the fact that Justice James Tsoho of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos in 2014 ruled that the FRSC cannot impose new number plates on motorists, some of their officials still ambush and extort motorists.
According to reports, Nigeria is one of the countries with very high road fatalities in the world.
In May 2017, the FRSC said that there were 33.7 deaths per 100,000 people in Nigeria every year.
Zimbabwe has the worst road fatality in the world with 74.5 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. The world’s average is 17.4; Africa is 26.6; and, according to the International Transport Forum (ITF), Road Safety Annual Report for 2018, the fatality rate for South Africa is 21 while Norway has the least road fatality with two deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
The commission should concentrate on its core mandate of ensuring safety on our roads and devise ways of reducing accidents on our roads. Changing number plates, increasing the amount of fines and hiding in dark alleys to catch drivers unawares will not reduce the number of road accidents on our roads.