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Petrol subsidy and crude oil theft in Nigeria

By Osa Mbonu-Amadi

Everybody is in agreement that the so-called petrol subsidy in Nigeria has to go. Like everything in that country, the subsidy became an opportunity for government officials and other people to scam the system.

Apart from taking the subsidized petrol across Nigeria’s border to sell, NNPC has also kept secret the exact amount of petrol Nigerians consume daily which is subsidized. They do this because they deliberately inflate the exact amount of domestically consumed petrol.

So the amount of petrol NNPC claims to be subsidizing is actually less than half the amount claimed! The difference goes into the pockets of the official racketeers, including the president who is also the minister of petroleum.

Because of this racketeering, they decided to ensure that local refineries do not work, so that they will continue to import petrol and claim monies for subsidy. Meanwhile, they also continue to budget billions of naira as turnaround maintenance of refineries and payment of staff salaries in refineries that do not produce even a drop of fuel!

If fuel is refined locally here, even with inflation, the cost of petrol per liter should not be more than N200. Remember also that if the local refineries are working, more jobs will be created and the by-products of refined crude like grease, engine oil and other petrochemicals products will add values to the Nigerian economy.

But as long as Nigeria continues to import petrol, the masses are bound to pay for the product based on international prices, plus the cost of shipping.

So, Nigerians can see the wickedness of those who call themselves their leaders.

What we and the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC,  are saying is that before removing whatever subsidy that may actually exist, local refining of petrol and other measures should be put in place, otherwise, the whole burden of the elite corruption will be put squarely on the shoulders of the poor masses.

But petrol subsidy scam is even a tiny portion of the Nigeria government’s scams strangling Nigerians. The biggest scam is crude oil theft! More than $20 million worth of crude oil is stolen daily from Nigeria by government officials in connivance with military officers and international oil companies. Those who should know insist that it is up to $50 million daily!

Remember that Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of Labour Party, widely believed to have won the February 25, 2023 presidential election, had promised that  stealing of Nigeria’s crude oil will come to an end if he was elected. And Nigerians believed him.

With Tinubu sworn-in as president, although his widely disputed victory is being challenged in the court, the question people are asking now is whether a government that was helped to steal election and put in place by crude oil thieves can stop the ongoing massive stealing of Nigeria’s crude oil.

Imagine what will happen to Nigeria’s economy if $20 million is saved and injected into it daily for the next 4 years!

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