It is no longer news that underprivileged citizens of Nigeria broke out in a cold sweat when they heard the recent hair-raising news with regard to President Buhari’s decision to withdraw the entire domestic subsidies of the fuel in the country as it will definitely rub salt into the wounds of their current grinding.
However, the federal government reiterates that a bunch of gigantic cesspools of corruption squandering billions a month is the major reason of removing the fuel subsidy.
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Being an OPEC member country, it is a shame for Nigeria to remain the only member that imports more than 90 per cent of its refined petroleum needs. The country has no reason for not bringing back its domestic refining. The precipitous removal of the fuel subsidy without making strategic plans or giving particular attention to the domestic refining is tantamount to strangulating hand-to-mouth Nigerians.
Before the removal of the fuel subsidy, it will indeed be a very good idea for Nigeria to go all out to resuscitate its four comatose refineries and embark on building new others in order to mitigate the consequences of the withdrawal. The poser here is why Nigeria’s four ailing refineries are yet to be resuscitated?
Over the years, many attempts have been made by previous administrations and the present one to bring those moribund refineries to life, but unfortunately they were in vain since some self-centred Nigerians cast aspersions on that much-needed valiant effort.
President Buhari should shut his ears to the incessant destructive criticism of those egoistical and unpatriotic Nigerians who denunciate his commitment to resuscitate Nigeria’s ailing refineries and spare no effort to lay the foundation for actualising zero import target of refined products by 2024. The US’s actor, Steward Stafford who once said,” Never listen to destructive criticism; it is only meant to silence you”. So, Mr. President and the Group Managing director of the NNPC, Mr. Mele Kyari should not be distracted from bringing Nigeria’s moribund refineries to life.
Therefore, government should not impulsively withdraw fuel subsidy unless its entire four comatose refineries are resuscitated. The country should also wait on the commencement and full operation of the Dangote and BUA groups’ oil refineries.
Mustapha Baba Azare lives at Alkali Musa Street, Bauchi