House Summons Petroleum Minister, Stakeholders Over Lingering Fuel Scarcity

•CUPP says petrol shortage has worsened economic hardship facing Nigerians

Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Juliet Akoje in Abuja

The House of Representatives has summoned the Minister of Petroleum Resources and all relevant stakeholders in the petroleum industry to appear before it and brief Nigerians on the measures put in place to end the current fuel scarcity and avert its reoccurrence in the future.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion of ‘Matter of Urgent National Importance,’ on the need to address the lingering fuel scarcity and rising retail prices of petrol across Nigeria, moved by Umar Shehu Ajilo at plenary yesterday.

President Bola Tinubu is the Minister of Petroleum Resources while Heineken Lokpobiri serves as the Minister of State for the ministry.

In the last two weeks, long queues have resurfaced in petrol stations amid scarcity of the product which has led to an increase in transport cost.

Ajilo, expressed concern over the lingering fuel scarcity accompanied by excessive increase in retail price of petrol at filling stations across the country which has no doubt occasioned additional hardship to the Nigerian citizens.

He further stressed that the situation came at a time when the adverse economic effect caused by subsidy removal and soaring inflation was yet to be addressed by the government, not to mention the deteriorating income of the Nigerian masses.

“The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Ltd is yet to address this perennial and persistent fuel scarcity problem faced by Nigerians despite the volume of resources at its disposal.

“All these economic quagmires have made the lives of average Nigerians unbearable with a litre of fuel selling as much as N1,200 in some States of the Federation.

“This 10th Assembly must rise to the occasion to ensure that lasting measures are taken to address this unfortunate and embarrassing situation permanently in the interest of all Nigerians.

Meanwhile, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has lamented the increase in cost of living in the country which it said was being compounded by the petrol scarcity.

A statement by the Secretary General of the coalition, Peter Ameh, regretted that Nigeria was the only OPEC country that experiences long fuel queues occasioned by fuel shortages due to scarcity.

He said Nigeria was bleeding with many people suffering untold hardship.

“For how long will this suffering upon suffering by Nigerian masses continue? They have removed subsidy, and Nigerians are buying fuel at the cost of over 400 per cent and we claim to be an oil producing country.

“If the Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) is saying that there is petroleum product and we can’t see it, then NNPC should work the talk and put an end to this unnecessary sufferings of the people,” he said.

Ameh said the CUPP believes that the hike in pump price of petrol was responsible for the soaring of prices of goods and services because the petroleum product was at the heart of the commerce and economy of the nation.

“Nigeria cannot continue like this. Nigerians should wake up and resist this premeditated oppression by their leaders, or else there may be no country to call their own,” he added.

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