Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



DSM Demands Repair of Refineries and Provision of Other Basic Infrastructure

We Urge Labouring Masses and their Organisations to Kick-start Resistance Campaigns


Fuel scarcity is back to Lagos and other parts of the country. Over a week, the residents in Osun and Oyo states have been experiencing fuel scarcity while those living in Lagos and Ogun started getting their own dose last weekend. There have been queues in filling stations while many have closed. This has created thriving black markets where petrol is sold at much higher than the official pump price and thereby worsens the already appalling socio-economic situation in the country.

The Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Fidel Pepple, claims that the vandalisation of the Arepo pipeline is responsible for the fuel scarcity. Fidel Pepple also stated that repairs had hardly begun on the pipeline when 3 of the NNPC workers were shot dead by armed fuel thieves. Therefore, according to him, the repair work would not resume until the safety of workers is guaranteed. There has been also insinuation in certain quarters that the scarcity is as a result of the non-importation of petroleum products by marketers since January 2012.

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) strongly warns that this scarcity is a signpost that total deregulation of the petroleum industry and another major fuel price hike will be visited on hapless Nigerians. We also warn that the crippling scarcity of fuel in several states is reminiscent of the capitalist ruling class suspicious way of forcing the masses into accepting higher prices if only to “guarantee” the availability of the products.

The current scarcity of petrol, like the previous ones, is clearly the failure of the federal government in securing the pipelines and refining enough petroleum products to meet the needs of all Nigerians. Why would NNPC abandon repair work because of insecurity? Government has enough armed forces to secure workers and the pipelines. The failure of the government to deploy security operatives underscores the connection between the top oil thieves and top government officials. The same government, one would recall, unleashed armed soldiers on peaceful demonstrators protesting the senseless hike in fuel price in January this year but cannot stop the stealing of oil and vandalisation of pipelines.

However, the inability of government to guarantee the supply of petroleum products at all times, and at an affordable price, is simply due to policy of deregulation that has given room for perpetual importation of petroleum products, something which enriches a few private oil merchants at the expense of the public. Investigations at different levels have revealed how most marketers in connivance with top government officials have been shortchanging the masses. The marketers, knowing very well that government will stick to importation instead of fixing the oil refineries, have embarked on “bosses strike” in order to continue their brazen robbery of public funds under the guise of fuel subsidy claims.

The DSM call on the trade unions, pro-working people organisations and the working masses to intensify the struggle to force government to repair the existing refineries, build additional refineries, link pipelines across the federation and provide other basic facilities that will guarantee affordable petroleum products at all times.

At the 52nd independence anniversary lecture of Nigeria on September 18, 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan described all those who fought against the unjust fuel price hike last January as “unpatriotic Nigerians”. This is an indication that the PDP capitalist government is plotting to hike fuel price again and hence, Jonathan’s tactics of labeling those that would oppose this anti-poor agenda. The DSM urge the labour unions and the masses to reject this cheap political blackmail and remain resolute to resist any attempt to further increase fuel price and all the anti-poor neo-liberal capitalist policies of Jonathan government.

DSM is of the strong view that guaranteeing basic infrastructure on a sustainable basis in the petroleum industry can only be possible when the industry is nationalized alongside other commanding heights of the economy and placed under democratic control and management of workers, experts and different communities. This is also the only way sharp practices, sabotage and outright stealing of crude oil and petroleum products will be stopped.


Segun Sango

General Secretary