Says advocates of fuel price hike sponsored by govt enemies

SENATE yesterday declared that the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, is being delayed because of the disagreement over the host community clause in the bill. It also condemned calls for hike in the petrol price describing such calls as being sponsored by enemies of government. In an interview with journalists in Abuja, yesterday, Senate’s Spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, (APC, Niger North) said the Upper Chamber upon resumption from their recess, would take on the management framework, stressing that the sensitivity of the host community relationship stalled the process and most experts have been calling on the Senate to revisit the bill. His words: “The Senate is already primed because most experts have submitted that we need to do something about the PIB. And you know the Senate was billed in our own wisdom, rather than take the whole hog of PIB, to turn in to about one or two components, we wanted to take the management framework, but because of the sensitivity of the host community relationship and benefit sharing issue, that issue met some brick wall even before it went ahead. “And so, we thought it wise to keep it down. But I’m convinced beyond reasonable doubt that by the time we come back from recess, that issue will still get a front burner attention because it’s key to whatever changes we want to see done, going forward
on a sustainable basis in the oil and gas industry.” On the increase in pump price, Abdullahi berated the Group Managing Directors, GMDs, for being responsible for the current woes that the country is going through, noting that they do not have the moral standpoint to advice government on what to do because they have a hand in it. The senator who stressed that the suggestion by the GMDs is a slap on the faces of Nigerians, noting that they ought to have been discrete with it, and insisted that no matter how good their intention was, it is obvious that the leakages they created while in office is responsible for where the country is today. Expressing regrets over the development, the Senate spokesman said: “I read the newspaper reports just this morning online and I was disturbed, worried and I think for all intent and purposes, I am very much disappointed. Now, first and foremost, let’s underpin the issues as follows. I saw it clearly that former group managing directors almost all of them numbering close to 10 or thereabouts all attended and what came to my mind is that how did we get here. The NNPC as an institution was expectedly the life wire of this nation. As we have all known refineries that we have in Nigeria have not been functional because if they have been functional and if that institution had been up and doing in tandem with its peers in other countries that have similar resource endowment as
us. For crying out loud, all of these former GMDs can they be said to be free of blame on how we got here. Can they?” He argued that refineries in the country stopped working while the GMDs were in office, adding that the corporation itself has not been run transparently and the maximum benefit of the Nigerian citizens not taken into consideration. “At least I knew it was just in this our change administration that the Minister of State Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu was able to tell Nigerians that they have declared profits now and they are now trying to run. He has brought his wealth of public private sector experience to bear on that corporation that we need to work in a manner that we would be able to say yes, we have operated and this is our operating surplus and so we are declaring profits”. “Before now, going down the lane through the period of 16 years misrule of the first PDP administration and even before then, the military; they have all been there. Our refineries have not worked, the various subsidiaries PPMC and others. All the problems we are having is as a result of what all these people who have assembled now to be the wise men and to tell us what should be done and as far as I am concerned, with due respect, am not cut out to insult anybody who’s elderly but this is a matter that’s national and this is something that is in our own national interest. I think on this note, let me make it very clear that all of them that are speaking do not
have the moral standpoint to even advise us on what to do because they had a hand in it and I cannot see how you can solve a problem under the same condition that created it. Are we expecting this people’s advice to change the narratives? As far as I am concerned, maybe they are sent to destroy this government and as far as I know, we would not allow them to do that.” He stated. He however explained that presently, the President is grappling with inherited problems and is trying his best to see that things are changed. “I think that within this context, whatever we need to do to support him to succeed we have always been ready as we have always done since we came on board to support him. Now as far as I am concerned, if you look at the arithmetic, if things have been well it is now that Nigerians are even supposed to enjoy because the price of Petroleum has crashed as we know. If we are going to get the pains of not getting enough forex, if we have gotten the joy of having a lower price of Petroleum products which right now we are not getting because the institutional base for it which the NNPC fully represents as the fulcrum has been destroyed over the years by these same people who are assembled to advice. So, no matter how well intentioned their advice is, it is unfortunate that it is coming from that particular group and as far I am concerned they have been part of this mess all along.”

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