Why Nigeria’s Fuel Crisis is Disgrace -Frank Tietie

29th April 2024

The Executive Director of Citizens Advocacy for Social Economic Rights, Frank Tietie, has said it is disgraceful for Nigeria to be facing the Premium Motor Spirit crisis.

Tietie said he was surprised, shocked, and deeply embarrassed by the on-going fuel scarcity in Nigeria when he featured on a programme on Arise TV on Monday.

He stressed that the purpose of subsidy removal for efficient petroleum supplies had not been achieved as there were long queues everywhere.

“I am surprised, shocked and highly embarrassed that this is happening after all the much talked about subsidy removal to ensure efficiency in the supplies of petroleum products.

“It is highly disgraceful that this is happening after a certain somewhat explanation by the NNPCL that the queues and shortage of PMS were a result of logistics problems. What a nebulous way to take Nigerians for granted. Whether it is logistics associated with lack of trucking facilities or anything that has to do with transportation,” Tiele said.

He lamented that people were hawking fuel in jerricans in front of establishments like Transport Hilton and NNPCL in Abuja, despite the scarcity in legal filling stations.

This, Tiele said, demonstrated the inefficiency of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and the regulatory authority responsible for ensuring stock availability.

He also criticised their negligence towards national security and job security for officials while taking Nigerians for granted.

“The resilience of Nigerians will always be considered something to be abused when you simply say logistics and nothing happens when it is four days after the so-called logistics problem.

“There is scarcity and queues are everywhere. In fact, one of the most embarrassing things you can experience is that in front of the NNPCL in Abuja, you will see people hawking petrol in jerricans. Another very terrible scene is the situation where one of Nigeria’s foremost hotels that hosts many International conferences, Transcorp Hilton, right in front of Hilton advertising to the world, you will see all of these persons hawking petrol in plastic jerricans,” Tiele added.

Despite the logistics problem highlighted as a factor responsible for the scarcity of fuel, Tietie noted that there was enough fuel for sale in the black market.

He added that the NNPCL had not been efficient in discharging its role.

“Does it mean that these ruffians have a way of solving logistic problems more than the NNPCL? Somehow, this must stop because we must stop this idea of making our country a laughing stock.

“It all sounds like a joke because you said there are queues everywhere and when you go to the front of the Hilton, you will see some people hawking petrol. You go to the front of NNPCL, well it is understandable that you have two major petrol stations in front of the NNPCL headquarters and you will see street urchins hawking fuel.

“This is a result of clear inefficiency on the part of the NNPCL this time. It probably extends to the authorities- the Nigerian Mainstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority. They are supposed to be responsible for ensuring that there is some measure of stock in storage,” Tiele stated.

Their negligence, he said endangered national security.

“What this means is that this authority and NNPCL are toying with Nigerian security. When you cannot guarantee for days the supply of PMS that is the mainstay of your national economy then it’s clear you are taking for granted the national security. That is the reason why the president is not calling them to order.

“Whereas we don’t have energy security, we have job security for the officials of the NNPC and NNPDRA and that’s the reason we continue to have it not minding what Nigerians are going through,” Tietie added.

Speaking further, Tietie said he was disappointed in the government for allowing such a situation to persist in a major oil-producing country like Nigeria.

He stressed that refineries in Nigeria would not function due to the benefits they gave to a certain establishment class.

Tiele added, “We all know that it is for certain mysterious reasons that refineries have refused to work whereas we understand it benefits a certain establishment class in this country that the refineries won’t and will never work no matter the commitment of any of the administrations whether it was Goodluck Jonathan, Muhammad Buhari or the current administration of Bola Tinubu.

“The refineries won’t work. Everybody is expecting the Dangote refinery to kick off so we can have a measure of the availability of PMS. We run a country in such a manner that takes the people for granted and we will now see people run the government and states without any sense of responsibility and shame.

“How can we as a major oil-producing country in the world have this kind of situation? And then we have an NNPCL that wants to pride itself that it is competing with a certain Saudi ARAMCO whereas it cannot provide any form of energy security for its country.

“In fact the NNPC is supposed to be a fallback on in terms of energy security meaning that it takes pride in being the sole importer of petroleum products. Why should we even be importing petroleum products in the first place? and if we must import, it will be to cater to issues of unnecessary disruption if ever we go to war, for example, not a norm that we should constantly have this uncertainty.

“Those who are running NNPCL should foresee any disruption problem that is about to come and the NNDPRA should have enough stock. What these guys are doing is just making a laughing stock the administration of President Bola Ahamed Tinubu.”

Residents of Lagos and other areas in Nigeria are currently facing difficulties in obtaining PMS as many filling stations have remained closed over the weekend.

Despite assurances from the Nigerian NNPCL that logistical challenges causing the fuel scarcity had been resolved, long queues at filling stations have persisted. Some stations were found to be selling PMS for prices between N700 and N800, providing an opportunity for black marketers to exploit desperate Nigerians by selling a litre for N1,000 or more.