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…Says fuel price hike is out of the table for now

By Idowu Bankole
Arewa youths Assembly has, yesterday, urged Nigerians to resist fuel racketeering, panic buying and acts inimical to the nation’s economy while the fuel scarcity last, saying efforts are ongoing to ensure adequate supply of petroleum products across the country.

The youth group praised the efforts of the Nigerian National petroleum corporation, NNPC, and other relevant agencies to mitigate and proffer quicker solutions to the worsening fuel scarcity crisis by ensuring a seamless evacuation of products from mother vessels to depots and trucking from depots to other inland depots as well as retail fuel stations.

The Arewa youth assembly equalled sounded a note of warning to oppositions to stop using the fuel crisis to cause public disaffection and cite the youths against constituted authorities who are working round the clock to end the fuel crisis.

Fuel scarcity was recently reported last month in the nation’s capital, Abuja, with long queues of motorists spotted waiting to buy petrol at fuel stations in the FCT.

In less than 24hours, Vanguard reported how the scarcity struck Lagos, with thousands of Lagosians seen on a long queue with different sizes of Jerry cans to buy fuel in many filling stations across the state.

This development has caused serious hardship on Nigerians as businesses, home running and other social activities have skyrocketed in the few weeks of reported fuel scarcity.

The group noted that though it has caused economic dislocations, efforts are ongoing to unnerve the situation.

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In a statement signed by its Speaker, Mohammed Salihu Danlami, the group acknowledged the hardship faced by Nigerians but calls for calm and responsible opposition in the face of the crisis.

He said, “It is a fact that the country has witnessed acute fuel shortage leading to long queues and sundry economic dislocations as a result of this. 

“It is also true that efforts are ongoing on several fronts to address this unnerving situation and restore normalcy. It is further a fact that the government through the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC Ltd), and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), has demonstrated transparency and promoting accountability, first by informing Nigerians of the off-spec petroleum products as well as working to ensure that all affected companies and individuals responsible for the present untenable situation are appropriately sanctioned.”

The Arewa youth assembly noted the efforts of the leadership of NNPC as well as other agencies to get rid of the contaminated fuel and ensure the seamless distribution of the product across the country

“For the avoidance of doubt, it was the NMDPRA that alerted the country of methanol above national specifications in imported petrol and proceeded to say that efforts were on to remove the contaminated products from circulation on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.

“Also, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Malam Mele Kyari, in subsequent statements and an appearance at the House of Representatives outlined efforts at remedying the situation.

“To underscore the seriousness of the situation, the NNPC and other relevant agencies have embarked on Petrol Distribution Surveillance (PDS). The aim of the PDS is to ensure the seamless evacuation of products from mother vessels to depots and trucking from depots to other inland depots as well as retail stations. 

“Information available to Arewa Youth Assembly also shows that there is at present, daily monitoring of trucks out from depots to all 36 states of the nation with a focus on demand and existing stock available in the retail stations in these states. The task is being complemented by the deployment of personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) to effectively monitor trucks out and prevent any diversion of products along the way. Besides these, there has been engagement with critical stakeholders in the petroleum value-chain like MOMAN, DAPMAN, IPMAN, PTD, NARTO, NUPENG to ensure products are distributed seamlessly and efficiently.

“This background has become imperative in view of overt and covert attempts by the integrity deficient opposition and hire-for-campaign civil society groups to skew the narrative and wipe up anti-government sentiments amongst Nigerians who are justifiably unhappy with the fuel situation,” He said.

The Arewa group bemoans statements credited to some oppositions in the country, warning political jobbers to stay off the crisis but urging unity to end the hardship caused by the scarcity.

“While we stand by our fellow citizens in this trying moment, it is important that no group(s), individual(s) take advantage of the situation for political gain and personal aggrandizement.

“At a time such as this, citizens come together when there are genuine efforts to remedy the situation as has been shown by the federal government to assist in ameliorating the condition and urge the government to be more measured and quick.

“Sadly, the reverse seems to be the case in Nigeria when the main opposition political party wishes to harvest from the common suffering of Nigerians through baseless conspiracy theories and underhand tactics that the present situation is to force Nigerians to accept a new price hike.

The group told Nigerians not to expect any hike in fuel price for now despite what is obtainable in other parts of the world owing to sanctions on Russian oil and especially Nigeria’s refineries going through rehabilitations.

“Having critically reviewed the situation and received a commitment from the federal government, we are persuaded to state that a new price hike for a litre of fuel is out of the table for now. 

“However, we all should take cognizance that while the government was moving quickly to redress the imbalance arising from the off-spec imported fuel, the Russian-Ukraine war started and this has led to dire global ramifications.

“Since the Kremlin invasion, oil prices have spiked across the world. For instance, in the United Kingdom, a litre of fuel sells for as high as N841.2k (£1.49). Fuel price tracking outfit, RAC Fuel Watch, notes that petrol price per litre is £1.49, while diesel sells a little higher at £1.53. The simple maths show that to fill a 55-litre petrol car is at N46k.

“It bears stating too that given the rise in crude oil prices in the global market, the cost of refined products will naturally go up. It is therefore abracadabra politics for the main opposition party and their hire-for-protest civil society friends to suggest otherwise when market forces interplay are obvious.

“Furthermore, we should remember that at the moment, the country’s refineries are undergoing rehabilitation, therefore, we depend solely on imports for PMS supply. So with the high demand for crude and refined products across the world, embargoes against Russia and disruptions in shipping, the expectation that the supply chain would have been fully restored by last week was not achieved as expected.

“Nonetheless, we urge the NNPC, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), security agencies especially the DSS to work round the clock and to see out the queues.

“Also, citizens have a part to play by resisting fuel racketeering, panic buying and engaging in acts inimical to economic and security interest of the nation. For the main opposition and other entities working to cause public disaffection and incite the Nigerian people, especially the youth, you shall find none as cannon fodder for your altruistic agenda. Our mission is one: to support in addressing social dislocations and help the government make Nigeria work for all of us,” He said.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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