From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
House of Representatives has charged the Nigerian National Petroleum Company ( NNPC) to end the current fuel scarcity in the country, within the next one week, so as to ease the suffering of Nigerians.
The House also urged the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to collaborate with the police and Department of State Services( DSS) to ensure that fuel is sold at the regulated price in all retail outlets.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Saidu Musa Abdullahi on ” urgent need for the government the current fuel scarcity”, at Tuesday’s plenary.
Abdullahi, in his motion, informed the House that Nigerians have been subjected to untold hardship occasioned by the lingering fuel scarcity, which has affected economic activities in the country.
According to him,” the lingering fuel scarcity has compounded the woes of millions of Nigerians struggling to survive as prices of items continue to make a rapid surge. It has added a high cost of living to Nigerians which surged to a 17-year high of 21.09 per cent in October this year.”
He recalled that when the fuel scarcity started the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) blamed it on rainfall, which submerged Lokoja, and impeded vehicular movement; noting that the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has equally adduced reasons for the scarcity.
However, the lawmaker said ” intelligence reports on current fuel scarcity gathered by our securities agencies indicated that there is a deliberate plan by some oil marketers to derail the effort of the government in the distribution of fuel in the country by hoarding the petroleum products and thereby creating artificial scarcity all over the country.
“While the fuel scarcity is heating petroleum stations of some major marketers that are currently selling fuel on government regulated price, some independent marketers who operate in the Market have enough petroleum products selling at unregulated prices;
Worried that: most of those fueling stations have resulted in selling fuel at over N300 per litre.
“It is observed with dismay that those who are gaining from this artificial fuel scarcity appear to be smiling home as a result of this ugly development and this has the potency to provoke innocent Nigerians against the Government.”
Abdullahi expressed worry that “generally, there is a hue and cry over this ugly development and unfortunately, those that are charged with the responsibility of taking control of this situation are not doing enough to combat the ugly development. This appears to be a dangerous signal that the Government must tackle without further delay to restore normalcy.”