The opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) has alleged that the real cause of the protracted fuel scarcity in the country is the looting of the $12 billion domestic gas fund under President Goodluck Jonathan’s watch, even as it accused President Jonathan of sabotaging the domestic gas project started by his predecessor.
The party also blamed government’s failure to pay the oil marketers the fuel subsidy and the cost of interests on bank loans, thus making it impossible for them to begin another round of importation of refined petroleum products.
In a statement issued Tuesday in Dubai by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Lai Mohammed, the APC argued that the ruling PDP and the Jonathan Administration decided to divert attention from the real fact, by accusing the opposition of being responsible for the scarcity, which it stated was a most laughable and irresponsible statement by a sitting government that was always so eager to blame everyone but itself for the nation’s woes.
It also recalled that the self-styled Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had, in February, promised to pay all subsidies owed to the marketers then, in the sum of N264 billion, along with the accrued interest.
The failure to meet this obligation, according to APC, has made it impossible for the oil marketers, who were being owed, to finance another round of products importation.
“The truth is that this profligate government has run Nigeria aground, and the oil sector, whether upstream or downstream, has particularly suffered hugely.
“The quantity of petroleum products that was imported has almost been fully consumed, without fresh products being brought in to augment supplies that have now fallen well below re-order level .
“The implication is that in addition to worsening power supply, crumbling prices of oil at the international market, weakening Naira and unprecedented corruption, Nigerians – who routinely provide their own electricity to power their homes and business, now have to face another round of government-imposed hardship with the ongoing fuel scarcity,” the party said.
APC further argued that “the present fuel crisis would not have degenerated to the present level, had the $12 billion domestic gas project fund not been looted under President Jonathan’s watch, adding with the project being executed, many vehicles, cooking stoves and generators would have been converted to use gas to reduce the importation of PMS, diesel and kerosene, and gas would have been available to fire the gas turbines at power stations while more power would have been delivered to the national grid.”
The party accused President Jonathan of “sabotaging the domestic gas project started by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, with the $12 billion cash call provisions for gas development for domestic power generation looted under his (President Jonathan) watch,” APC said,
“Late President Yar’Adua made the first allocation of $1.5 billion for this project in 2009. The amount was not spent at the time of his death in 2010. However, direct outlays through annual cash calls continued to be credited to the project account so much so that by December 2014, $12 billion had been accumulated in the same account.
“Had this project been successfully implemented as envisaged, had the funds made available for the project not been looted by the rapacious cabal that is holding Nigeria by the jugular, power generation would have improved with uninterrupted gas supply to power the turbines at power station, while the domestic consumption of PMS, diesel and kerosene would have reduced, with an increasing number of vehicles, cooking stoves and power generators being converted to use gas instead of PMS, diesel or kerosene”.
It also accused the Jonathan Administration for its inability to secure power installations from contrived sabotage.
“For a Federal government that is in control of one million people under arms (military, police, civil defence corps, etc), and one that has spent in excess of 4 trillion Naira on security, there is no justifiable reason why power installations could not be secured against sabotage,” APC challenged.
The party said the real saboteurs and those who have pushed Nigeria to another sorry state of fuel scarcity were those who have stolen the money earmarked for gas gathering, processing and transportation for domestic power production, and Nigerians know who and where those people were. Nigerians, the opposition held must be wondering whether those who accused the APC of instigating fuel shortage have their heads properly screwed to their bodies, because the accusation marked a new low in the sad saga of the Jonathan Administration.
The party stressed: “They (Nigerians) must be wondering when the APC took over the running of the NNPC, when the APC took charge of subsidy payment and why the opposition should become the easy scapegoat of an ineffectual, clueless, incompetent, visionless and thieving government. Absurdity has no other meaning.