By Nuhu Adamu
The Niger Delta Youth Council (NDYC) has urged the Federal Government to immediately resolve issues that has given rise to uncertainties over pricing of petrol in the country maintaining that the situation was hurting the economy and threatening the safety of many homes as citizens engage in panic buying.
The NDYC in a statement signed by its newly elected director for international relations, Com. Collins Ufuoma Achakpekri explained that the argument put forward by the government that the price of petrol in the international market had shot up thereby affecting the local pricing was simplistic.
According to the group, the rise in petrol price in the international market ought to be a blessing to Nigeria but for the desire of a few to ensure that local refineries are abandoned so as to continue importation of the finished products for their own pecuniary benefits.
It would be recalled that the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) had published on its website a template which increased petrol pump price to N212.68 per litre, a situation that has given rise to long queues at filling stations. How, the Federal Government, through the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva apologized to Nigerians saying there was no increment and urged them to disregard the information despite the source.
“The Niger Delta Youth Council has consistently warned against the danger of exporting crude oil and importing finished petroleum products. We are not unaware of the fact that a few previledged persons in the government would stop at nothing in ensuring that our refineries remain permanently shot down or working well below installed capacity.
“We are equally aware of the political debates surrounding the workability of the refineries. While there has been claim of the refineries being obsolete, huge sums of monies is periodically spent on turn around maintainance of the refineries without correspondent benefits.
“While the rigmarole continues, the government continues to play games with the issue of fuel subsidy. At sometimes government says it has ended fuel subsidy hence the increase in pump price and turns around to say it has reintroduced fuel subsidy as a result of cost in the international market and cost of landing”, the NDYC stated.
It further urged the Federal Government to consider auctioning the refineries for more efficient operation as it has done with other sectors of the economy.
“The NDYC is willing and able to mobilise all needed human and material resources to participate should the Federal Government yield to it’s advice to concession the refineries. It is our honest view that the government should ensure that local refining of the petrol is prioritise before considering any increment in fuel price.