The National Association of Nigerian Students has decried the recent scarcity of fuel in some states of the Federation.
The student body, in a statement on Monday, asked the Federal Government to make the country’s refineries functional. It further bemoaned the hardship which the fuel crises had foisted on Nigerians amid skyrocketing costs of living.
In the statement obtained by The PUNCH, signed by its National Public Relations Officer, Giwa Temitope, NANS said, “Once again, Nigeria has been gripped by acute fuel scarcity. For some days now, fuel stations across the length and breadth of the country are selling the Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) between N190 and N210 per litre against the supposed official price of N167.
“Meanwhile, some fuel stations have intentionally closed down in order to give room for black market to thrive and force the citizens to buy at N350 and N400 per litre.
“In all these, the Department of Petroleum Resources, which is meant to be performing monitoring duties, is lost.”
NANS said pepper grinders, barbers, transporters (motorcyclists, tricyclists, motorists), saw milers were all counting their losses because there was a limit at which they could raise prices without undermining patronage.
“And, ordinarily, with the collapse of the naira against the dollar (N801 to $1), goods and commodities will skyrocket thereby taking its toll on the lives of the Nigerian people,” it added.
“We understand that the first and the most obvious problem of the downstream sector is the desolate state of the country’s four refineries which this administration came out at a time with the claim that they had all been revived. Unfortunately, it was just an attempt to, once again, sell lie to the Nigerian people.
NANS said licensing private individuals to own refineries was not in the interest of the people.
“It is based on this that we are demanding that the Federal Government must make these refineries work again. Giving private interests licenses to own refineries is not in the interests of the Nigerian people as it will only compound the crisis in the oil industry because of the dominance of private interests in refining, storage and distribution of petroleum products.
“It has been said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited is the most corrupt and useless government agency in the country, considering the report of the Natural Resource Governance Institute,” NANS alleged.
“We have read of how the NNPC accounts remains unaudited and how the agency spends billions of dollars earned revenue without recourse to due process. The corruption in the NNPC in connivance with oil racketeers is making mockery of Nigeria as one of the largest oil producers in the world.
“Just few weeks ago, a vessel conveying illegal fuel was seized by a private security firm of an ex-militant, Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo. Rather than make proper investigations on it and bring those behind it to book, the Nigerian military set the vessel ablaze. We see that as an attempt to cover-up. Also, we read of how a pipe illegally diverting fuel deep down the sea was unravelled few weeks ago, till this very moment, no arrest has been made. We can go on and on.
“As an association, we want to state emphatically that this is not the kind of change the Nigerian people signed up for; the country is now in a very chaotic situation,” it added.
The student body thereby sought, “An immediate reversal to the old price; no to deregulation; FG must make the refineries work again; and no to the tyranny of marketers.”
The PUNCH reports that fuel scarcity has recently gripped different parts of Nigeria, forcing motorists to spend hours at filling stations while battling to get the product.