SPN CONDEMNS FUEL SCARCITY AND HARDSHIP IMPOSED ON NIGERIANS
DEMAND NATIONALISATION OF THE OIL AND GAS SECTOR UNDER THE DEMOCRATIC CONTROL OF WORKERS AND CONSUMERS
For over 2 weeks now and still counting, petrol scarcity has been imposed on Nigerians by the Buhari government. It was shocking to discover that NNPC and the major marketers had imported about 200 million litres of petrol that contained 20% methanol from Belgium, which is far more than the import specification as Nigeria only allows a maximum of 5% methanol due to its incompatibility with vehicles. The NNPC and the oil marketers kept quiet about the adulterated petrol only to be discovered by consumers particularly when the petrol started causing damage to their vehicles. Hence, the Buhari-led government is to be blamed for the scarcity and hardship.
Upon discovery of the adulterated petrol, NNPC top officials and the major oil marketers started passing the buck and trading blames. The NNPC claimed that the petrol was imported into the country by 4 marketers namely MRS, Emadeb, Oando and Duke Oil, but the oil companies claimed that the petrol was tested and certified by NNPC and therefore they are not culpable. Weeks after, aside from the usual ‘show investigation’ by the House of Representatives, no NNPC top officials has been arrested, no marketer has been arrested, business goes on and Nigerians are forced to buy petrol at exorbitant prices and sometimes up to N250 per litre. This whole thing could be an agenda to foist scarcity on Nigerians, make people buy at exorbitant prices and thereby accept a hike in fuel price and complete deregulation of the downstream oil sector.
Though, the NNPC is formally the sole importer of petrol because the oil marketers withdrew following the difficulty to access forex, it is some oil marketers which actually import petrol as the contractors of the NNPC. It is most likely NNPC and the marketers connived to import adulterated and cheaper petrol and to sell to Nigerian consumers and make a huge profit. Under a fully deregulated oil and gas industry, we should expect a worse form of exploitation.
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) condemns this NNPC/Marketers/government-imposed scarcity and hardship. We feel strongly that it is a deliberate orchestration to further exploit the working people. Aside from the fact that Nigerians are forced to buy petrol exorbitantly with its attendant negative economic impact, many homes and businesses which depend on petrol to power their generators due to the obvious failure of the power companies are facing more hardship. Deliberately, due to profit agenda, the ruling elite destroyed the publicly-owned refineries and promoted neoliberal capitalist policies of privatization, deregulation etc.
The anti-poor capitalist policies are destroying the Nigerian economy but putting more money in the pockets of a privileged few at the expense of the vast majority of working people and the poor. There is a dire need to do away with it, we call for the nationalization (public ownership) of the oil and gas sector, banking, power sector and other key sectors of the economy under democratic control and management of the working people. Therefore, as against fuel importation and Dangote monopoly, we call for the building of adequate public refineries under the democratic control of workers and consumers.
It is the weakness of the trade union movement that emboldens the self-serving ruling elite to constantly unleash all forms of attacks on Nigerians including the incessant petrol, diesel, kerosene, electricity tariff hikes. The SPN calls on the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to end their futile and anti-workers strategic alliance with the self-serving ruling elite and mobilise the working people and youth to resist privatization, deregulation and all anti-poor capitalist policies.
Acting National Chairperson