‘Define roles of GMD, NNPC and Minister of State, Petroleum also’
By John Eche
With Nigerians experiencing a very excruciating Christmas season on account of fuel scarcity, the opposition All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to give up the role of substantive Minister of Petroleum he has held for almost three years now.
Mr. Victor Oye, the National Chairman of the party stated this in a chat with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka.
He affirmed that the current situation was yet evidence that the players responsible for the recurring failings in the system were yet to be caged.
To tackle this frontally, he called for a very clear delineation of powers and functions of the offices of the Minister of State for Petroleum and that of the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC).
“There are a lot of factors affecting fuel distribution in Nigeria and this bothers on sharp practices in the various agencies involved in the system like the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, Department of Petroleum Resources and the NNPC.
“What we have now is the consequence of the rot in the petroleum industry, when you keep pilfering a system, there will come a time when the entire system will feel the pressure.
“When we hear about billions of dollars about the size of our External Reserve not being properly accounted for by NNPC, few persons are having money and and houses all over the world without questions about how they made this money.
“I am aware that Buhari said Dr Ibe Kachikwu should end the scarcity as soon as possible but it is not going to be possible.
“We need to know the powers available to the Minister of State for Petroleum and what powers are at the disposal of the NNPC GMD, the conflict between the two offices is accountable for what we are witnessing today,” he said.
On the continued functioning of President Muhammadu Buhari as Minister of Petroleum, he averred that this has also come to be part of the problem, calling for the appointment of a substantive minister of petroleum.
“The president cannot handle the position of Minister of Petroleum very close as he would have wished in the light of the numerous things at his hands, that position is sensitive, he needs to hand it over to a professional.
“Buhari is not getting younger, he just recovered from ill health and I am one of his prayer warriors so he should listen to people like us, he should unbundle himself and the system.
“Kachikwu is competent to do the job but they are breathing down his neck, they are not allowing him to work because of reasons I cannot tell.’
Meanwhile consumers continue to groan at filling stations all across the country even as transport fares have risen most astronomically, forcing thousands of commuters to walk from their homes to their offices and back..
Paradoxically, all of this is taking place at a time when Nigeria remains a leading oil producer in Africa and the world and the situation continues to fuel anxieties of an imminent hike in the pump price of refined petroleum products.
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria