President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire has been to keep fuel pump price at N145 per litre in Nigeria. But, as Motoring World discovered, certain officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR) and certain cabinet members are in connivance with fuel marketers to not only frustrate the president’s desire, but to treasonably bring down the government, if need be.
Of course the Minister of State for Petroleum has been speaking from two sides of his mouth. There have been several refutations by NNPC and the Minister of State. But fuel price increase is the ultimate goal. And day-by-day, they inch closer to that goal. All that Nigerians have experienced since the end of November 2017 have been nothing but acting of a written script.
Actors (NNPC/DPR officials and Fuel marketers have simply been playing goody and baddy roles. There has been fuel. They were horded. NNPC and DPR knew who the fuel hoarders are.
DPR officials knew what stations are selling fuel above official pump price of N145 per litre. NNPC and DPR officials have been playing the script roles allocated to them.
The connivance of NNPC was evident in the fact that a soon as the fuel crisis erupted, most NNPC fuel stations remained shut with that of independent and major marketers. Yet top officials continuously lied to Nigerians: “We have enough fuel to serve Nigerians for 90 days”. Yeah, right…
Agreed, that was the case, why did they not make fuel available at NNPC fuel stations across the country and continuously refill their underground tanks, while “sabotaging” independent fuel stations horded fuel? Were they not conniving, that would have been enough to frustrate any sabotage. As at, 6th January 2018, there were NNPC stations that had not sold a litre of fuel since the beginning of December. NNPC management alleged diversion. But to where? No destination was ever mentioned. None of the trucks allegedly diverting fuel was ever found. Why?
Fuel Marketers’ Role
Having agreed with DPR officials to keep-off from fuel-hording stations, marketers broke the law with impunity, selling to black market operators at night, shutting down during the day.
In a city where there are more than 20 petrol stations, one or two would open. While others remained shut, with fuel in underground tanks of most of them. And those opened would do everything to cause confusion and panic by closing their main entrances, so that vehicles, motorcyclists and pedestrians would only be let in and out through the exit gate, a tactics that resulted in queues, as fuel buyers would get desperate and be forced to buy at higher prices, starting from N160.
There are seven DPR zonal offices across Nigeria. There are 17 operation offices across the country. But rather than going round and clamping down on saboteurs, their role in the script was that of siddonlook. They look away from hording and illegal pump price increase perpetrated within their vicinities. They pretended to be unaware. They were not to act, when they knew that filling stations within the cities and environs they are located sold fuel far above official pump price, using calculators or even illegally adjusted upward their fuel pump price.
And as soon as the situation had got worse, their role in the movie script was to get television camera crew and play to the gallery by “sealing off” certain selected stations located at the nation’s federal and economic capital, Abuja and Lagos. There would be announcement that such fuel stations were sealed and fined. That was all. No prosecution for economic sabotage. For it is all script acting.
Meanwhile DPR officials at other states of the federation waited till January before they started acting. It was all film tricks, Motoring World found out. For instance, while fuel stations had a field day throughout December in Ondo State and Ekiti State, no single fuel station was sanctioned. Yet DPR field office in Akura, headed by one Mr. Oseni did nothing. Same goes for Aba, Eket, Kano, Sokoto, Yola, Makurdi, Gombe, Enugu, Yenagoa, Katsina, Minna, all of which has DPR Field offices, with staffs paid with tax payers’ money.
For instance, as soon as Petroleum Minister was summoned by the Senate Committee on January 5th, DPR in charge of Ekiti and Ondo States rose from deliberate slumber. For the first time since the crisis late November 2017, they sealed few filing stations, only in Akure, the Ondo State capital. But up till Saturday, 6th January 2018, there had been no sign of DPR in Ado-Ekiti or any other Ekiti town for that matter.
On Saturday, Motoring World Correspondent went round the Ekiti State capital and made these findings:
- Only one NNPC feeling station located along Federal polytechnic Road sold fuel. It stopped selling before 5pm, on an excuse that fuel had finished.
- Best option limited along Federal poly road had fuel. No queue. Reason: It sold fuel at N200 per litre, even though its meter was set at N145 per litre.
- Olokemeji Petrol station also along Federal Poly Road, near Ikare garage, had its machine illegally reset to N180 per litre. When questioned, the station’s fuel attendants on duty called the bluff and dared our reporter to take any step against them: “Go to NNPC, if you want to buy at N145 per litre or you can report us to any authority you like. We shall be waiting.
- None of the major marketers, including Mobil, Total had their fuel stations opened to the public.
- But despite the lawlessness being exhibited in Ado-Ekiti, no DPR official bother to visit Ekiti State. For it is not part of their script roles to do so. So fuel is still being horded and sold above official pump price in Ado-Ekiti and many other state capital cities across the federation. And they know it.
It is, therefore, obvious, that the actors are working against President Buhari’s regime. They ganged up against the people of Nigeria. Observers have spoken with one voice: “Heads Must Role in DPR and NNPC”, as certain unscrupulous elements in those government departments have released themselves for use to bring down president Buhari’s government. Unless President Buhari take a drastic step, Fuel pump price is about to increase. There will be no official announcement. Pretending to be offering a lasting solution to the problem, the culprits are heading for their goal.
Height of the Script
How would one interpret the Minister of State for petroleum’s presentation to the Senate committee on Friday?
He said: “currently the landing cost of a litre of PMS is N171. And until the current price regime is reviewed the issue of fuel crisis would continue in the country. The N171 pricing model comprises ancillary charges as well other different taxes. However, if the government intends to keep the N145 per litre, it could apply a plural strategy whereby the government maintains the N145 per litre while allowing the private sector sell at their own determined price.”
Although the chairman of the Senate Committee on Downstream Senator Kabiru Marafa, who presided at the Senate Hearing on fuel
crisis in the country, at the National Assembly, on behalf of the Senate and the House of Representatives rejected the suggested price increase for the interest of Nigerians, the Minister’s presentation was a needle that burst all the ball of lies that NNPC and DPR have told Nigerians since the fuel crisis started.
The same Minister, who has said times without number that the federal government had no plan to increase fuel pump prize, eventually voiced out the real motive before the senate committee. He wants fuel marketers to import fuel and sell at any price they like. That is an approval of fuel price increase.
And if f the option is approved, NNPC fuel stations will not always have fuel. Whenever they have, there would be queues. And motorists would be frustrated and left with no choice than to buy from independent marketers for prices ranging from N180 to N500. That is the plan the actors are sitting on like a hen about to hatch a set of evil eggs.
From all indications, the ultimate motive of the plan is to bring down the present government and set Nigeria backward. The connivers have agents in the president’s cabinet, multinational oil companies, opposition party (PDP) as well as the ruling party (APC).
It’s like a spider web. What is going on could be likened to an American popular movie titled: 24.
And if only president Buhari could look beyond the drama being presented to him and sack the nation’s enemies of progress working with him, if he would command the military to take over the affairs of fuel sale, if only the Vice president Yemi Oshibajo could assist his boss with his legal intelligence, direct a critical searchlight into the mutiny going on, all culprits would be found. And some of them could end up being charged for treason.
It is that serious.
Otherwise should the matter be handled with kids’ glove and the actors succeed in hatching their plans, Nigerians would be disappointed in President Buhari big time. They would feel betrayed. And for Buhari and APC, the political damage would be irremediable.