Senate Gives Buhari 2 weeks Ultimatum to End Fuel Scarcity
Definitely not only the poor masses are suffering! Angered by the lingering fuel scarcity across the country, the Senate yesterday ordered President Muhammadu Buhari who is also the Minister of Petroleum Resources, to end the fuel crisis within two weeks.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Uche Lilian Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra Central), gave the ultimatum during a meeting with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
Ekwunife’s order came when officials led by the Managing Director, Pipeline Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, said Nigeria has lost 531 million litres of fuel worth N50 billion in nine months to pipelines vandalisation.
She said the minister must not only end the scarcity within the ultimatum, but ensure that consumers do not pay more than N87 per litre for petrol.
Ekwunife said: “We are mandating the Minister of Petroleum Resources (Buhari), the Permanent Secretary and heads of agencies to stop this fuel scarcity in two weeks. We are giving a target now, we do not want to know how you would achieve it, but it must be stopped. This is a critical period. In the next few weeks, there will be Christmas. Nigerians want to see an end to this scarcity and be able to buy petrol at N87 per litre,” she said.
While commending the efforts of PPMC in trying to end the scarcity, she noted that “what Nigerians wanted is getting fuel being sold to them at every filling station across the country.”
In her remarks, Mrs Nnamdi-Ogbue told the committee that the major problem affecting fuel supply is vandalization of pipelines by criminals.
She noted that Nigeria lost about 531 million litres of petrol valued at N50 billion to vandals between January and September this year. The managing director also mentioned sharp practices at fuel depots, including illegal charges and diversion of the products by marketers, saying these were some of the factors that influenced the scarcity and discrepancies in the prices in various parts of the country .
Lamenting that these sharp practices amounted to economic sabotage, Mrs. Nnamdi-Ogbue said the PPMC had gone into collaboration with the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Police to tackle hoarding and diversion of petroleum products.
Proferring permanent solutions to the fuel scarcity, the Group Executive Director Commercial and Investment of NNPC, Dr. Victor Babatunde Adeniran, said prompt payment of fuel subsidy would help oil marketers play their roles effectively.