The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has accused the federal government of deliberately causing the current scarcity of fuel in the country in a ploy to justify a planned increase of petrol pump price from N145 to N185 per litre.
Mr. Fayose, in a statement on Sunday by his Special Assistant on Public Communication and New Media, Lere Olayinka, also accused the federal government of insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians.
“Petrol is scarce across the country because the federal government deliberately reduced supply since it is only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that is importing the product,” the governor alleged.
“Allowing fuel scarcity to persist for over two weeks when Nigerians are preparing to celebrate Christmas and New Year is the height of wickedness on the part of the All Progressives Congress (APC) federal government.
“Funny enough, instead of directing its anger to President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the Minister of Petroleum, on December 7, 2017, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) choose to give the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu seven days ultimatum to end the fuel scarcity.
“Today is December 17, exactly 10 days after the misplaced ultimatum was given, the situation has even gotten worse.
“By the time the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) goes on strike as being threatened, the whole country will be shut down and one wonders what will become of Nigerians that desire to move around during the festive season.”
Mr. Fayose said it was necessary for the federal government to tell Nigerians the truth about the situation of fuel supply in the country, noting that it was the restriction of supply of petrol to NNPC alone that has put Nigerians into hardship.
“It is only the NNPC that is bringing products in; and the result is the scarcity being experienced now. The thinking is that by the time the scarcity persists for like one month, with Nigerians already buying at N200 per litre, the people will jump at it if petrol is increased from N145 to N185 per litre,” he said
“This time, Nigerians will resist any attempt to further impoverish them by increasing the pump price of petrol.”
Mr. Kachikwu had earlier admitted that the crisis was as a result of a shortfall in the supply of the product to the country. He had however, said the NNPC had enough product to neutralise the effect of the scarcity.
On Thursday, the federal government assured that the situation would abate by Saturday as efforts were underway to ensure the supply of the product to all parts of the country.
After a meeting of the National Economic Council where Mr. Kachikwu made submissions on the way out of the problem, the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, told journalists that the issue of fuel scarcity had been addressed.
“As you know, there has been the challenge of fuel supply in the country,” he said.
“The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources assured the council that within the next 48hours, fuel supply will be restored nationwide because there is enough fuel in our strategic reserves and the ministry has released fuel from these reserves and it expects distribution will reach all parts of the country within the next 48hours.”
The government has also repeatedly said it has no plans to increase fuel price.