Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Wednesday, carpeted the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva for saying he won’t mind buying petrol at N300 a litre because other countries sell their products at higher prices than in Nigeria and N300 is nothing when compared or changed to the United States dollar and the British Pound Sterling.
HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement said the comment of Sylva is crudely insensitive to the plight of Nigerians who, for months, are suffering unavailability and expensive cost per litre of Premium Motor Spirit known as petrol.
The group also said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration which Sylva serves has failed woefully to fulfill its campaign promises to revive the nation’s moribund refineries as he vowed to do in his manifesto in 2015 when he was vying for offices under the deceptive mantra of “Change”.
Sylva had at a presentation on Monday in Abuja said N300 per litre is not too high for petrol, adding that “if you convert the N300 to other currencies, you will probably understand”.
Commenting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The statement by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Silva is insensitive and totally disrespectful to the sensibilities of Nigerians because whereas the President Muhammadu Buhari has been the senior minister of Petroleum for about eight years, he failed woefully to revive the moribund refineries in Nigeria a she promised in his manifestoes in 2015 before his election.
“It is perplexing that despite the overt fact that the four government refineries in the country have not produced a single drop of refined petrol, they still gulped N100bn annually for rehabilitation and maintenance, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited. It still remains a wonder of the century how a government will make such a phantom claim of maintaining non-functional refineries for about eight years! What more is the definition of corruption and daylight robbery than this!
“Aside from the refineries’ rehabilitation shenanigan, the same Buhari administration sunk in billions into importation of refined petrol whilst stifling the local businesses with multiple taxations and harsh economic climate. The so-called petrol subsidy has also been shrouded in secrecy as not many Nigerians know who the importers are and how the subsidy is paid. According to reports, the Buhari regime has spent over N16.9tn on the importation of not less than 132.24 billion litres of petrol yet Nigerians cannot be said to have consumed half of the imported commodity since May 2015.
“The 60 miilion daily consumption of fuel has become a continuous debate as the figure has been questioned as inflated to allow the cartel purloining subsidy to continue their illicit venture. This is responsible for FG’s reluctance and tardiness on the fuel subsidy regime which has been described as organized crime by some Nigerians including Peter Obi and Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, amongst others. Now, after eight years of inflation of the subsidy regime, the Buhari government will remove subsidy after its tenure in May 2023. Waoh! What a government!
“It is a shame that even when officially there is a dispensing price for fuel in Nigeria but motorists are subjected to the manipulations of buying at higher pump price and here is the minister making insensitive, callous and uncharitable remarks. He could buy it at that because for over 30 years he has been spoon-fed by taxes of Nigerians either as special adviser to a petrol minister, as governor and now a minister so he has access to public funds and can do as he pleases but he needs to know that even in Bayelsa State poverty is an issue even as over 130 million Nigerians are multidimensionally poor due to the bad economic policies of this administration.
“HURIWA calls on Nigerians to vote a capable President on February 25 to effectively investigate the epic crude oil theft and the diversion of huge revenues from the crude oil sales by the government.