The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, came under fire from the civil rights organization Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Wednesday for declaring he won’t mind purchasing gasoline at N300 per liter because other nations charge higher prices than Nigeria does, and N300 is nothing when compared to the US dollar and the British pound sterling. Raising Fuel Costs
In a statement, Emmanuel Onwubiko, the national coordinator for HURIWA, claimed that Sylva’s remark was grotesquely insensitive to the condition of Nigerians, who had endured months of petrol scarcity and high per-liter prices.
The group also claimed that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, of which Sylva is a member, has utterly failed to carry out its campaign promises to revive the country’s shuttered refineries, as he promised to do in his manifesto in 2015 when he was running for office under the false banner of “Change.”
Sylva stated that N300 per litre is not excessively pricey for gasoline during a presentation on Monday in Abuja, adding that “if you convert the N300 to other currencies, you will probably understand.”
Onwubiko of HURIWA commented, “The statement by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Silva is insensitive and totally disrespectful to the sensibilities of Nigerians, because whereas the President Muhammadu Buhari has been the senior minister of Petroleum for about eight years, he failed woefully to revive the moribund refineries in Nigeria , which he promised in his manifestoes in 2015 before his election.
“It is perplexing that despite the overt fact that the four government refineries in the country have not produced a single drop of refined petrol, they still gulped N100bn yearly for rehabilitation and maintenance, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
“It still remains a wonder of the century how a government will make such a phantom claim of maintaining non-functional refineries for about eight years.
“Aside from the refineries’ rehabilitation shenanigan, the same Buhari administration sunk billions into importation of refined petrol while stifling the local businesses with multiple taxations and harsh economic climate. The so-called petrol subsidy has also been shrouded in secrecy as not many Nigerians know who the importers are and how the subsidy is paid.
“According to reports, the Buhari regime has spent over N16.9tn on the importation of not less than 132.24 billion litres of petrol yet Nigerians cannot be said to have consumed half of the imported commodity since May 2015.
“The 60 million daily consumption of fuel has become a continuous debate as the figure has been questioned as inflated to allow the cartel purloining subsidy to continue their illicit venture.
“It is a shame that even when officially there is a dispensing price for fuel in Nigeria, motorists are subjected to the manipulations of buying at higher pump price and here is the minister making insensitive, callous and uncharitable remarks.
“HURIWA calls on Nigerians to vote for a capable President on February 25 to effectively investigate the epic crude oil theft and the diversion of huge revenues from the crude oil sales by the government.”