•Blames previous administrations for rot in petroleum sector
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
For the umpteenth time, the federal government yesterday warned of dire consequences for any individual or groups of individuals who attempt to exploit and further cause untold hardship to the ordinary Nigerian by disrupting the fuel supply and distribution chain in the country.
A statement signed on behalf of the Minister of State, Petroleum , Mr Timipre Sylva by his Senior Adviser on Media and Communications, Horatius Egua, called for patience while the government continued to search for a lasting solution to the challenge.
It stated that the warning was coming on the heels of renewed efforts by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) to maintain the 450. 92 million litres weekly evacuation of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) to different petrol stations across the country.
Sylva reassured Nigerians of the government‘s determination to find a permanent solution to the problems of petroleum products supply and distribution chain in the country .
He called on security agencies to be on high alert in preventing attempts by subversive elements to cause any disruption during the period of the general elections in the country.
Sylva appealed to Nigerians for understanding, noting that the President Muhammadu Buhari‘s government was sincere with finding sustainable solution to the fuel problems in the country.
The minister said the government was exploring all options in seeking an end to the fuel problem in the country and urged stakeholders in the oil and gas sector to join hands with government in ending the problem.
In addition, while on a tour of some filling stations in Abuja, Sylva expressed government’s satisfaction at the efforts of the NNPC in ensuring fuel availability to the average Nigerian and urged them to keep up the tempo.
It stated that in the last one month, NNPC had maintained a total weekly evacuation of 450.92 million litres and a daily average of 64.42 million litres.
Sylva , while calling for a collective support in dealing with the fuel issue said the government feels the pains of the ordinary Nigerian occasioned by the lingering fuel queues, stressing that the relevant government agencies were working round the clock to ensure fuel availability at petrol stations across the country.
The minister noted however, that the problems associated with fuel queues in the country were not a problem that came with the Buhari’s government, but a fallout of the ‘long years of rot’ and decadence in the fuel products supply and distribution chain by successive governments.
He said that the Buhari administration was addressing the fuel problem holistically, stressing that it was the first time in so many years that a government is addressing the problems associated with fuel supply and distribution collectively.
And as part of the move to find lasting solution to the problem, the minister said the federal government recently set up a 14-man committee to get to the bottom of the problem with a view to avoiding future occurrences.
The federal government, he said, has also embarked on refineries rehabilitations neglected over the years with Port Harcourt Refinery at about 65 per cent completion, Kaduna just awarded to Daewo of South Korea and Warri expected to follow soon.
He said the government had through the NNPC acquired a 20 per cent equity in the Dangote refinery and embarked on the licensing of modular refineries to ensure energy security for the country.
In addition, he said the federal government had concluded the marginal fields bid rounds as well as improved security along the major crude oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region in the last few months , all geared towards increasing crude oil production to meet domestic consumption.