Make Refineries Function again, Afenifere, PANDEF Urge FG

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Deji Elumoye

The Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere and the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) have faulted the plan by the federal government to indefinitely suspend the removal of fuel subsidy.

The two groups in reactions to the government’s move yesterday said the only way out is for government to get the four refineries working at optimal level to bring the petroleum products prices to the barest minimum.

The groups, in separate reactions, also accused the government of not having the interest of the masses at heart before formulating policies.

The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Comrade Jare Ajayi, told THISDAY that it is unfortunate that Nigeria could still be talking of fuel subsidy six years into the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to him, President Buhari and his political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) told Nigerians when campaigning to be voted into power that fuel subsidy was a scam. He said: “They promised to do away with it if voted into power. Beyond that, the party and its candidates promised to revamp the then comatose petroleum refineries.

“Over six years after the party came to power, the amount being taunted for subsidy has gone up considerably while none of the four refineries in the country is working.

Afenifere maintained that Nigerians are not impressed by the government’s decision to postpone the subsidy removal till further notice.

“It did so not necessarily because it loves Nigerians but because of the undisguised resolve of the people to resist such unhelpful step.

The group submitted that what President Muhammadu Buhari administration can do as far as petroleum in the country is concerned, “is to get the refineries working which will thereafter bring the prices of kerosene, petrol, diesel and gas down considerably”.

On his part, the National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Hon Ken Robinson, said the latest government decision clearly shows that critical policy decisions that would impact the well being of citizens are not given sufficient consideration before they are formulated.

According to him, government should have known that any attempt to increase the pump price of fuel would receive wide condemnation without adequate measures to mitigate the social and economic ramifications of such an action adding that what’s needed is not the dubious plan to disburse money to certain persons in society.

“The significant question begging for an answer, in all of these, is why can’t Nigeria refine its products and meet local demand instead of relying on the importation of petroleum products?”, he pondered.