From Uche Usim, Abuja
For the umpteenth time, the Federal Government has declared war on subversive elements in the petrol distribution network, saying it would leave no stone unturned to crush them as it seeks a permanent solution to the scarcity imbroglio.
This warning is coming on the heels of renewed efforts by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to maintain the 450. 92 million litres weekly evacuation of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) to different petrol stations across the country.
The Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, gave this warning while reassuring Nigerians of the Federal Government‘s determination to find permanent solutions to the problems of the petroleum products supply and distribution chain in the country and called on security agencies to be on high alert in preventing attempts by subversive elements to cause any disruption during the period of the general elections in the country.
He appealed to Nigerians for understanding noting that President Muhammadu Buhari‘s government was sincere in finding permanent solutions to the fuel problems in the country.
The minister said the government was exploring all options in seeking an end to the fuel problem in the country and urged stakeholders in the oil and gas sector to join hands with the government in ending the problem.
During a tour of selected petrol stations, in Abuja, on Friday Sylva expressed the government’s satisfaction with the efforts of the NNPCL in ensuring fuel availability to the average Nigerian and urged them to keep up the tempo.
In the last month, NNPCL has maintained a total weekly evacuation of 450.92 million litres, a daily average of 64.42 million litres.
Sylva while calling for collective support in dealing with the fuel issue said the government feels the pains of the ordinary Nigerian occasioned by the lingering fuel queues stressing that the relevant government agencies were working round the clock to ensure fuel availability at petrol stations across the country.
The Minister noted however that the problems associated with fuel queues in the country are not a problem that came with the Buhari government but a fallout of the long years of rot and decadence in the fuel products supply and distribution chain by successive governments.
He said that the Buhari administration is addressing the fuel problem holistically stressing that this ‘is the first time in so many years that a government is addressing the problems associated with fuel supply and distribution collectively’.
And as part of the move to find a lasting solution to the problem, the minister said the Federal Government recently set up a 14-Man Committee to get to the bottom of the problem with a view to avoiding future occurrences.
The Federal Government he said has also embarked on refineries rehabilitations neglected over the years with Port Harcourt Refinery at about 65% completion, Kaduna just awarded to Daewoo of South Korea and Warri expected to follow soon.
He said the government through the NNPCL acquired a 20% equity stake in the Dangote refinery, embarked on the licensing of modular refineries, concluded the marginal fields bid rounds as well as improvement of security along the major crude oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region in the last few months all geared towards increasing crude oil production to meet domestic consumption.