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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
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FUEL SCARCITY: WHY IN DECEMBER?

FUEL SCARCITY: WHAT A WAY to welcome the New Year 2018. Nigerians are always the living witnesses of fuel scarcity around December of every year. The reasons for this ugly act cannot be explained by ordinary citizens but by the government in power. One may want to ask very pertinent questions.  Why must Christians suffer at this time when they need to be rejoicing in the euphoria of Christmas and New Year celebrations? Is this what the government plans to offer Nigerians for the New Year 2018? Why this scarcity in December?

Despite assurances by various government agencies and officials that the current fuel crisis will abate, the situation across the country portends a bleak yuletide season, as the scarcity bites harder and thousands are forced to sleep in filling stations to purchase the product. When the scarcity began, both the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, both assured Nigerians that normalcy was going to be restored in a matter of days. When the crisis worsened, following the threats of groups, associations and well-meaning Nigerians the government said the problem was going to end in a few days. Also, subsequent assurances from the NNPC were that enough had been done, by increasing the number of trucks of petroleum products to major cities to take care of the scarcity. But, days after those assurances, the situation in Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan and most other major cities across the country remain far from normal, as fuel remains in short supply, with attendant high prices.

The resultant impact or effect has been the rising transportation fares by almost 100 percent, as Nigerians celebrate Christmas and prepare for New Year. Everybody appreciates the fact that when motorists pay more for fuel, the transport fare increases. This has been the case even when the increase is only marginal. In the particular case where the cost of fuel is expected to double, the increase in transport fare will be astronomical. This will in turn affect everything else – school fees, house rent, food prices, just name it. Nigeria’s ruling APC reacted to the petrol scarcity, saying there was no basis for it and blamed marketers and people for panic buying amidst yuletide holidays for the lingering scarcity. In a related reaction, the opposition PDP blamed the President who is also the Minister of Petroleum for the scarcity.  The unbearable fuel situation in the country is completely unacceptable especially to Christians. It is expected that Mr. President must rise to the occasion and take the bull by the horn. He should not allow anybody to push him to claim that the issue of fuel scarcity is not under the purview of the Minister of Petroleum Resources. When he took office as President of Nigeria and also as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, he was aware that the buck stops at his table.  It is only logical to conclude that federal authorities are behind it.

In a twist former and present Group Managing Directors of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation have expressed fears that the current pump price of N145 per litre is no longer feasible. They said the amount does not correspond with the price-determining components of the commodity and the fluctuations of the foreign exchange rate. The declaration of the NNPC present and past bosses confirmed an exclusive report by a national newspaper in which oil marketers revealed that the actual or real cost of petrol was N151.87 when all the pricing components are adequately captured. The marketers had stated that they were struggling to maintain petrol price at N145 per litre because of the stiff competition in the downstream oil sector, but stressed that the practice was not sustainable. According to the corporation, the GMDs expressed concerns about the declining crude oil production level and its consequences on the environment and the nation’s revenue. They further agreed that if the current situation remains unchecked, it could lead to the crippling of the corporation and the nation’s oil and gas sector which is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy.

The Nigeria  Labour  Congress, Trade Union Congress, security experts and human rights activists, however, warned the present administration not to contemplate any further increase in the pump price of petroleum products in the country. The activists said Nigerians  would  not  accept  further  fuel  price increment.

Nigeria is a failed state. With the number of educated persons in Nigeria and the supposedly democratic system of government in Nigeria, one would think that the power is in the hands of the masses.  You find it hard to believe that some individuals that were elected into offices can embezzle funds yet we do nothing but quickly pounce on the person who stole a handset. As senseless as it appears, lack of patriotism and religious acrimony is the major play here and that is why Nigeria can never be better.  If Nigerian youths, irrespective of their tribe and religion, can team up to face these pot-bellied men in Agbada and Babariga then we stand a chance. In less than 3 years, this administration has brought unimaginable suffering to the masses in return for our votes.

Are all politicians liers? Certainly not. We need God fearing people who can put God first in all that they do, otherwise in this era when salaries are not paid to workers, when electricity is not within the reach of the citizens, when kidnapping is the order of the day, when insurgencies abound here and there, when corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of the nation, Nigerians must pray fervently for divine intervention. People are suffering and all that concerns the government and the party in power is about second term opportunity with incompetent sycophants toeing the line.  The impunity and arrogance of treating the people of Nigeria with disdain would definitely bounce back and haunt the government when the chips are down.

The most worrisome about the state of the nation is that clearly, the present regime does not have a direction. Frequent policy somersaults and double speak. They came with utopian promises without any idea of how to achieve them or any inkling of how government is run. They heaped blames upon blames on the previous government and were very quick to jettison policies that ought to have been maintained in order to sustain economic growth, simply because they wanted to vilify their political opponents. Too bad! National interest should supersede personal and party interest. The citizens are the worse off. Unfortunately the country has been so polarized that political inclination is now like a religion. They are spending time thinking about the next election while enjoying bagpipes and ceremonial welcome. What a waste!

For how long are we going to wait before things will change for better?  It is very unfair on Nigerians if we should go and queue at filling stations  struggling and fighting for a commodity that we have in abundance in Nigeria. What a shame!!!

S.O.S. ALIEME

alisossimon@gmail.com

 


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