- Warns against hoarding, price hike
By Lawrence Olaoye and Umar Muhammad Puma
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the ongoing fuel scarcity in the country was regrettable.
Buhari, who spoke through his verifiable Twitter handle, yesterday said he had directed regulators in the oil sector to intensify surveillance with a view to preventing hoarding of the products.
The nation has been in the throes of fuel scarcity in the past few weeks even though authorities had assured that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had the capacity to make the product available ahead of the yuletide.
For instance, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, had two weeks ago assured that the product would be made availability with forty-eight hours but the scarcity has persisted till date.
Buhari’s personally signed statement yesterday would be his first official reaction since the beginning of the crisis in the petroleum supply chain.
In the statement, Buhari expressed his sympathy for Nigerians who are passing through hell by being made to pay exorbitantly for fuel.
The President, however, said the NNPC was on top of the situation.
He said: “The fuel scarcity being experienced nationwide is regrettable. I sympathize with all Nigerians on having to endure needless fuel queues.
“I’m being regularly briefed, especially on the NNPC’s interventions to ensure that there is enough petrol available during this period & beyond.
“I have the NNPC’s assurance that the situation will improve significantly over the next few days, as new shipments and supplies are distributed across the country.
“I have also directed the regulators to step up their surveillance and bring an end to hoarding and price inflation by marketers,
“Let me also assure that the relevant agencies will continue to provide updates on the situation. I thank you all for your patience and understanding.”
Nigerians have been vociferous especially on the social media in their calls for President Buhari who is also the Minster of Petroleum to address the issue.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC), has apologised to Nigerians over difficulties currently experiencing as a result of the fuel scarcity across the country; especially at this Yuletide period.
The party in statement by the National publicity Secretary of the party, Bolaji Abdullahi, said the Federal Government is doing everything to improve the situation and bring succour to the people as soon as possible.
“We also understand the unhappiness of Nigerians at this situation, which is happening for the first time in the Christmas period since the APC administration came to power.
“We also wish to note that while we accept the choice of the opposition PDP to make political gains out of the difficulties that Nigerians are experiencing as a result of this fuel scarcity, we however condemn their desperation to make the government and our party look bad by maliciously fabricating and circulating fictitious statements in the names of our government and party officials and then attack us on the basis of those same statements that they fabricated in the first place. This is bad politics.
“Once again we empathise with Nigerians at this difficult time and appeal for patience with the Federal Government as they make efforts to improve the situation and find lasting solution to this problem that has bedevilled every administration in our country, including the PDP administration under whose government, Nigerians would recall, the oil cabal enjoyed unprecedented prosperity.