The Oodua People’s Congress has condemned the expensive cost of fuel and gas and demanded that pending when the nation’s four refineries would begin local production, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), must halt any plan to remove fuel subsidy.
The group made the call in a statement on Wednesday by OPC President, Otunba Wasiu Afolabi, popularly called Askari. Askari is the leader of the Frederick Fasehun faction of the OPC.
He warned that scrapping fuel subsidies without locally-produced fuel would further escalate inflation, endanger industries and increase the hardship Nigerians already suffered.
OPC also demanded that the government must equally tame the galloping prices of cooking gas, domestic kerosene, and aviation fuel.
Afolabi said: “Many households and families are suffering due to the high cost of cooking gas and domestic kerosine. They want the government to alleviate their sufferings by ensuring that the price of gas, for example, returns to N256/kg at most, instead of the current astronomical price of N850/kg.”
Lamenting that the price of diesel has also skyrocketed from N190 to N810, Afolabi said this had a negative effect on industries and transportation with the attendant high cost of goods and services.
According to the OPC president, lower fuel prices will reduce inflation, restore the health of the devalued Naira and increase the purchasing power of citizens, with the overall boosting of the economy.
Challenging the government to invest in the local production of fuel instead of importation, Afolabi said Buhari must see to the revamping of the country’s four refineries and encourage the abundant establishment of functional modular refineries.
“What is happening today was not what General Muhammadu Buhari promised Nigerians when he was campaigning in 2014. His promise to change the fuel situation by revamping the four refineries was attractive to Nigerians who were dissatisfied with the high cost of imported fuel. Nigerians voted for change. Now the situation is even worse.
“How do you explain that Buhari called fuel subsidy of N306.92 billion a scam in 2015, but under him fuel subsidy rose to N1.43 trillion in 2021 and N4 trillion in 2022?
“By running the economy on imported fuel these past seven years, the Buhari government has sacrificed Nigerians to the unchained greediness of an evil cabal that has deliberately paralyzed local refining. Clearly, no country will do well under such a system. The time has come to say, ‘Enough is Enough.’
“President Buhari, as the Minister of Petroleum, lacks any excuse to import petroleum products at all. Nigeria is an oil-producing country. Nigerians are blessed with petroleum resources and they deserve to enjoy the benefits of this God-given gift.”
Recalling that when Buhari took over in 2015, petrol sold for N87 at the fuel pump, Afolabi said today the price has increased to N190.
OPC equally faulted the high price of aviation fuel, saying the situation had increased the cost of flight tickets and made traveling by air expensive, unattractive and nightmarish.
Afolabi said: “It is unreasonable that just a few months back aviation fuel sold for N190 and today it has increased to N880. Yet the government allows the situation to continue, without doing anything to bring this alarming situation under control. This is unacceptable.”