Just when Nigerians thought they have seen the last of fuel scarcity, queues resurfaced last weekend in Abuja and some northern states.
Indeed, the last fuel scarcity was arguably the worst in recent years. It went on for almost three months. It was a living hell for most Nigerians. People slept in fuel stations for days, and businesses and homes suffered. We also heard countless tales of people who were attacked by hoodlums at early hours in fuel stations losing valuables. We can’t afford to go down that route again.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) came up with all kinds of excuses till they ran out of them and just kept mum. When fuel queues resurfaced last weekend, the NNPC came with its usual super story that they have billions of fuel in storage but that has not stopped the queues. The queues are showing no sign of abating one week after.
The NNPC and oil marketers as usual have started trading blames. NNPC blamed the shortage on the insufficient lifting of products during last week’s long holidays. But the petroleum marketers association, IPMAN, said the shortage also had to do with the government’s indebtedness to its members.
The chairman of IPMAN, Kano State chapter, Bashir Dan-Mallam, urged Nigerians to brace for a more severe crisis in the coming days, saying the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) had failed to pay marketers “bridging claims” of over N500 billion in nine months.
The persistent fuel scarcity is becoming embarrassing and shameful. When will this ever end?
The government should perish the thought of rehabilitating the refineries as we will just end up rehabilitating some few person’s pockets. The refineries should be sold.
It seems we are all waiting for the Dangote refinery to start to end this scarcity once and for all. To me, that is putting too much power in one man’s hands. We also need more modular refineries to take care of local consumption. States and regions collaborate to build refineries.
Moreover, fuel subsidy is draining the little resources of the country and this should stop. No government has been able to stop the subsidy because of fear of social unrest. Again apart from Lagos and Abuja, most states sell fuel above N165 per liter. In some states, fuel is as high as N250 in fuel stations. So who are you really subsidising?
It’s time the government takes some hard decisions. The perennial fuel scarcity has brought nothing but pain to Nigerians. Time to stop this nonsense.