By Dapo Akinrefon
CHAIRMAN House Committee on Petroleum in the downstream sector, Mr Clever Ikisikpo has ruled out the possibility of a new regime of fuel scarcity in the country, saying the cartel within the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC that specialized in the creation of artificial scarcity had been put out of business.
Ikisikpo while briefing newsmen argued that for as long as the president, Goodluck Jonathan remained in office, it would be difficult for the cartel to resurrect. He said the House, in partnership with the presidency had dethroned the cartel for good.
The lawmaker said “there is no state in Nigeria that did not have the effect of fuel scarcity. Even, there was a time that adulterated fuel was loaded into the nation and if you remember my motion on adulterated fuel, when the committee saw it, it took it upon itself and the issue was arrested. With the joint effort of the committee and that of the president, there cannot be anything like fuel queue again. And believe me, even the price of petroleum products, if you go to some places in Lagos, though government prices is N65.00 per litre, you would see N62, N64 just because of the effort of the committee. We have done a great job and I believe the country appreciates the work we havedone.”
He disclosed that the House decided to undertake a study of the fuel situation in the country at the time when it was becoming very difficult to access petroleum products freely and discovered that a few people in the NNPC were feeding fat on the sufferings of the masses.
He said the people were not in a hurry to change until the government descended on them and closed all their routes. He said the cartel was the worst thing that ever happened to the nation’s petroleum industry.
According to him, “our fight was how to break that cartel. That had been the biggest fight because we know that if that cartel was broken this issue of fuel importation whereby some people were deprived will not be there again. The cartels were eating fat from Nigeria and allowing the common man to suffer. So the cartel was one of the major problems that were causing the fuel scarcity.”
Speaking further, he explained that “the cartel made sure that anything about importation must rest on them and no other person should know about it, and because they were eating fat from it, they even brought in this issue of subsidy.
So they were enjoying the subsidy and from the importation.
Ikisikpo who represents the Ogbia Federal Constituency of Bayelsa State from where he is aspiring to be elected into the senate in 2011 said although the country was still importing, the cartel was no more operating because they have been properly placed on check.
He said “there is still fuel importation but the issue of hoarding is no more there. People hoard fuel so that they can eat fat and suffer the masses, meanwhile the products are there. And by God’s grace so long as Jonathan Goodluck is there and is monitoring them I would say the days of scarcity is gone totally.”