With Reno Omokri
There is no more unmistakable evidence for the dishonesty, dubiousness and downright gangsterism of the Buhari administration than the fuel subsidy heist that they have pulled in Nigeria. The Buhari administration is so dishonest and corrupt in their handling of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry. And this is fact, not opinion.
Let us now consider some facts.
The government said they removed subsidy in June 2020 (although some officials say it was in March). In June 2020, the Naira traded officially at N360 to $1 before it was devalued to N380 on August 6, 2020. This is a 6% devaluation. There have not been any significant changes in the price of crude oil between June and today. The price differential per barrel is $4.
As of June 2020, the government said there was no subsidy due to the collapse of oil, which made the product cheaper than the subsidised price.
Between June and August, the price of petrol has remained low in America (where it hit a ten year low in April and has not recovered) and Europe. In fact, the reason why petrol even costs $2.20 per gallon on the average in the US is that in many parts of America, 65% of the price of gasoline (what Americans call petrol) is tax, not cost.
Flowing from the above, if it is true that the Buhari government actually deregulated and removed subsidy in June of 2020 (or March as some of its officials say-when you lie, your story is never straight) then their argument today does not add up. A 6% devaluation can’t explain away the increased cost. Moreover, the products now being sold in Nigeria were not ordered today. If you understand how the oil market operates, these products had to have been ordered and paid for over a month ago.
All we are asking is that the government level with Nigerians. This has nothing to do with hatred. I don’t hate Buhari.
Not only is their argument flawed and dishonest, but they also are not even talking about palliatives to cushion the impact of the increase in the price of petroleum products. This is the same President who doubled his feeding budget from what it was last year. Has Aisha secretly given birth to quadruplets that we do not know of?
At least when former President Goodluck Jonathan increased the price of fuel, he provided palliatives which included:
• Buses for subsidised transport
• The Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme known as ‘SURE-P
• Social investments, like YouWIN and conditional cash transfer
Let me shock Nigerians. President Buhari did not increase fuel price because he removed the fuel subsidy. He increased it because he ADDED a TAX on petrol. This time last year, oil was $67. Today, oil is $43. Yet, you paid N148 in 2019, and you pay N162 today. If there was truly deregulation, as claimed by this government, fuel price would have REDUCED just as fuel price in America dropped to a ten year low in 2020. Buhari is fooling you!
And mind you, that is not even the major deception Buhari has pulled. The biggest scam is to compare the price in Nigeria to the price in Europe and America. The fuel being sold in Nigeria is dirty fuel. It is not the same quality of fuel being sold in these countries.
The Guardian of London reported on this on July 1, 2020, which Nigerians may want to read. According to The UK Guardian, the fuel being refined illegally in the bushes of the Niger Delta is of a higher quality than the petrol imported into Nigeria from shady European refineries by the Buhari administration. The fuel the Buhari government is bringing into Nigeria cannot be legally sold in Europe or America, or even in Asia. It is a cancer causing fuel!
According to The Guardian of UK “Our research suggests that Nigeria is having dirty fuel dumped on it that cannot be sold to other countries with higher and better-implemented standards. The situation is so bad that the average diesel sampled is of an even lower quality than that produced by artisanal refining camps in the creeks of the Niger delta.”
And this is the fuel whose price the Buhari administration is comparing to what obtains in Europe and America! They are comparing apples to oranges.
This fuel will not even be accepted for free in Europe and America. Why do you think cars in Nigeria have a shorter engine life than the same make of vehicles elsewhere? It is not your village witches who are jealous of you and have placed a hex on your car.
It is because of the toxic fuel Buhari is selling to you. And since only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation imports fuel into Nigeria under Buhari (there was competition under Jonathan), there is no way of escaping this toxic fuel, as long as you live in Nigeria.
Not only is the fuel killing your cars, but it is also killing you! Nigeria has some of the highest cancer levels on Earth. The reason why we do not know this is because every unexplained death is blamed on ‘village people’.
According to the international watchdog group Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN), if you live in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Aba, Onitsha and Kaduna, you are likely to face an increased risk of asthma, respiratory disease and cancer, from breathing in air polluted by the fuel your government is selling to you. Please do not take my word for it. Google it. Research it like your life depends on it because it does.
Then another question Nigerians are not even asking is this; why is the Buhari government spending over a billion dollars on refineries that are not working? When HE Atiku Abubakar suggested that these refineries be sold off, the All Progressives Congress propaganda machine went into overdrive to paint him as a man who wanted to enrich his cronies.
Now, we have spent over $1 billion on refineries that do not work, and we do not have either our $1 billion spent or our petrol. What is the Economic sense in that?
If you recall, Buhari is the minister of petroleum. There is no Peoples Democratic Party person or Jonathan appointee to blame this time around. The buck stops at Buhari’s table.
In all of this, we have a government that is not thinking about the impact of its actions on the poor. How can they? This is a President, who doubled his feeding and travel budget to N3.5 billion in 2020. With so much money to eat and travel, how can he empathise with the poor? He is drunk on food!
In 2018, Nigeria overtook India as the world capital for extreme poverty. On Wednesday 9, 2020, United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF released findings establishing that Nigeria had also dethroned India as the global capital for under five deaths.
On the same day, the Debt Management Office, DMO, also reported that our total national debt is now N31 trillion, up from the N11 trillion Buhari inherited from former President Jonathan. And to think that these people have three more years to go.
And on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had complained during the Ministerial Retreat at Aso Rock (coincidentally held at the same venue where Mr Gates tonguelashed Buhari for having an economic blueprint that ‘does not meet the needs of Nigerians’) that poverty is deepening in Nigeria. Is that not wonderful? The Vice President is complaining about something that he has the power and duty to fix! These people do not know the meaning of responsibility. They have blamed everyone and have now run out of who to blame. Now they blame the air!
However, let me correct a wrong impression given out by the dishonest duo of Buhari and Osinbajo. Poverty is not deepening in Nigeria because of #COVID19. COVID19 also affected Ghana, yet Ghana has not increased fuel price. Instead, Ghana has given and is still giving her people several palliatives, including paying their utility bills.
Nigeria is broke due to the bad leadership of Buhari, who budgeted $500 million to digitalise NTA and then borrowed $322 million from China. Who watches NTA? This is a man that budgeted N27 billion to build a new headquarters for the EFCC (not a priority), yet refused to fund capital projects for our federal universities (a priority).
Let us face it, Jonathan made some mistakes, but Buhari is himself a mistake! And nothing proves this more than the lavish wedding he threw for his daughter at the Presidential villa at the very same time he was telling Nigerians not to live lavishly because Nigeria is broke. Yes. Nigeria is broke, but the man who broke her is not broke!
Let me further shock Nigerians: Former President Jonathan inherited a total debt of N7.9 trillion when he became acting President in 2010. In 5 years he borrowed N4.7 trillion. He built the Abuja-Kaduna railway, 14 new universities, 165 almajiri schools, revived the railways in 5 of the 6 geopolitical zones, completed Olorunsogo 2 and Adam power plants and dredged the river Niger up to Baro, etc. Buhari met debt of N12 trillion and borrowed N18.9 trillion. What has he done with the debt? This government likes to point to the Second Niger Bridge. First of all, that bridge was initiated and started by Jonathan. Secondly, it is a PPP project of which the initial payment was made by the Jonathan administration and the other payment is to be made by Julius Berger, who will recoup their money by tolling the bridge. So, again, I ask, what has Buhari done with N18.9 trillion?
Abdulrasheed Maina sued me on Monday, September 23, 2019. Immediately, a particular man of God contacted me and said he will pay for a lawyer to defend me. I said ‘sir, let me pray about this first’. I never got back to him. I went to my closet, got on my knees, and prayed to God on that same day. A week later, on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, the DSS arrested Maina and handed him over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and he is still grappling with them. His case against me never got heard. If you are a man of God, you don’t fight enemies carnally. You fight them spiritually! 1 Corinthians 4:20 says “The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” When you use talk and insults and curses to fight your enemies, you give people the impression that you are not a part of the Kingdom of God. Go and pray. “The God that answers by fire, let Him be God”-1 Kings 18:24