Nigeria, her many pains!

The past few days into this new year has rather been like a drag to me and most other Nigerians and it’s been from talks of fuel subsidy removal to protests ongoing in various states of Nigeria to the other and then the very genesis of all problems which seems to have calmed down all of a sudden (God help us………) Boko Haram.
Frankly speaking, politics has never been my thing but when the problems resulting from decisions made by people in top government is staring right at your face only then will you realize that politics is a part and parcel of who we are, the community we live in and the way we intend to mold our society all have politics as an index factor.
The story is a long one but I will try to cut it short and make it as understandable as possible without boring you. Fuel in Nigeria (Gas) has been sold in recent times for 65 naira a litre ($0.4 dollars), a subsidized rate which has been shouldered by the government of the federation. We have crude oil but do not have refineries and crude is taken outside the shores of the country, refined and then resold back to Nigerians at a higher rate.
Now the Federal Government has decided to remove the subsidy on fuel and it will then be sold at 141 per litre ($0.88 dollars) which is more than a 100 percent increase! Alarming! For a country where you have people living under a dollar per day? Isn’t this absurd?
That people have to pay twice the amount on anything they buy in the market and also have to pay twice in refilling their fuel tanks which also include their generator fuel tanks as there is no constant electricity and we thereby resort to generating our own electricity by ourselves as our government has failed us in that regard. It is a sorry sight I bet you would not want to have a taste of if avoidable.
The proposed plan by government is to remove the fuel subsidy isn’t a bad idea in itself if only Nigeria was an ideal state (am sorry, my thoughts). The plan is to use funds from fuel subsidy removal in building our own refineries such that we no longer have to export crude to be refined and then sold back to us at a higher price but then do we trust the government to keep such funds after so much sacrifices have been made by common Nigerians who have to contend with their old salaries (we’ve been on the fight for increased minimum wage for workers since last year which still remains unresolved in most states), curb their excesses (if they had any), walk twice as much on days they cannot afford the increased fare, eat a meal without a piece of meat as they can’t afford to and maybe just maybe, pull their children out of school when they fail to meet up, while top government officials live it off with cars fuelled at the expense of suffering taxpayers money, their home generators been fuelled also and trips abroad for medical checkup and an annual salary that could be used in building up to ten schools fully equipped!

Small businesses will have increased running costs and be forced to go under when not able to cope with it. My pain is why the masses are the only one to make the sacrifices and the senators and top government officials not feel a single pinch. Is this not their own Nigeria also? We say No to fuel subsidy removal and that’s been our song since January 1st 2012 when it was being announced and given to us as an unpleasant New Year gift! No to further marginalization and sidelining of some individuals! Democracy is a government of the people therefore the government has to listen to the people and not make autocratic decisions no matter “how good” they say these decisions are. The people trusted you with their votes and expect to be respected in return and not just sidelined at one corner.

2012 is going to be a great year and I hope we all make it work for ourselves. God bless Nigeria and God bless us all!
For those who have never seen me write like this on national issues, this is just a burning issue that’s been bogging my mind and I really needed to unleash my pent up emotions and if you didn’t find this an interesting read I hope when this issue is all trashed out and we are all smiling again that you will do but then again life always presents us with challenges that we have to conquer and get to the next stage. There’s no end to its drama until we get to heaven!

 

Credence goes to Bellanaija.com for the pictures!

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About Nita's Own Little Space.....

I am a blogger. I love to write. It is one of the most beautiful ways that life has given to me to express how i feel, how i see life. A way to confirm my most innermost and deepest feelings and also what seem so shallow. I just love to write, it is more easier than talking!!!
This entry was posted in Living In Nigeria, Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Nigeria, her many pains!

  1. granbee says:

    So glad to see you back here at your blog, Nita! Bless you, sister! Well, it sounds as though the 1% in Nigeria are no different than the 1% in most of the rest of the world! You need to establish chapters of Occupy Wall Street there in Nigeria! Now, I realize petroleum is one of your country’s chief natural resources, but wouldn’t it be grand to have new types of wheeled conveyances and new types of home generators that would be about 200% more fuel efficient? And wouldn’t it be great if the 1% power-brokers (read: crooks) had no ability to buy off the offices issuing licenses and patents to those inventors who already have such devices ready for market?

    • I wish things were that easy in this part of the world i come from. Substitutes other than PMS driven generators and cars are a very good idea and a worthy point of note. I hear there are alcohol fuel driven cars in Brazil derived from Sugar cane maybe as Nigeria progresses we will get such alternatives but are not feasible at present.Solutions to the present problem dangling right in our face granbee is very essential. People are been killed while on protest. It is soooooo sad!

  2. festivalking says:

    Nita you don’t want to know what I have to say about this situation dear… it won’t be pretty 😀
    Anyway, I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award. Your blog is a blessing and deserves the award. please click on my link in order to accept the nomination. 🙂 http://festivalking.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/the-versatile-blogger-award/#respond

    • Thanks for the award dear. I really appreciate! I will also like to know your views on this issue as it is important to me. I’ve never seen Nigeria before in such a deep struggle and encountering so much problems at one time. Some scenes especially from the boko haram bomb blast look like some war torn apart country which is so hard to believe that is the Nigeria me and you both live in. Air your views dear you are free to or maybe i should say i will like to hear.

  3. Emeka says:

    If only we have the legislative and executive arms of gov make as much sacrificies as we the masses are willing to take, then we’ll begin to see things differently. Cutting only 25% of basic salary from political office holders is jus not enough if you ask me. Mr President should start from himself and cut all ridiculously approved expenditure (allowances included) for both his office and his vice. Then move to the national assembly. Then, only then would Nigerians feel that we are moving forward. Jus my own thots.

  4. Emeka says:

    Nita (permission to call you that), I jus saw this and thot to share.
    The fraud Nigerians are subsidising – Wikileaks
    Details Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00 Published on Tuesday, 10 January 2012 08:06 Written by Wikileaks
    Reproduced below is a secret cable of the United States Government on the fraud in the oil sector in Nigeria as published by Wikileaks.
    C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 000767
    SIPDIS
    NOFORN
    E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/07/2014
    TAGS: EPET EINV EFIN PGOV NI
    SUBJECT: SCANDAL BREWING OVER NIGERIAN FUEL IMPORTS
    Classified By: J. GREGOIRE FOR REASONS 1.5 (B), (D), AND (E).
    ¶1. (C) SUMMARY. A scandal is brewing in Nigeria over prices paid by the government for imported fuel. International fuel traders have been falsifying the dates of bills of lading to reflect particularly high market prices, overcharging the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by $300 million or more. END SUMMARY.
    ¶2. (C N/F) On April 2, Chris Finlayson,Chairman and Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Corporation of Nigeria (SPDC), told Consul General and Econoff that a scandal is brewing within the NNPC over payments made to international fuel marketers. Finlayson said some marketers have been changing the dates when fuel shipments bound for Nigeria were loaded in order to take advantage ofparticularly high market prices. He said the total overpayment by NNPC may be as high as $330 million. Finlayson noted that Shell is not one of the marketers in question, but is becoming a leading fuel supplier for NNPC.
    ¶3. (C N/F) On April 6, Femi Otedola, President and CEO of Zenon Petroleum and Gas, the largest supplier of diesel fuel in Nigeria, essentially corroborated Finlayson’s report. Otedola said over $300 million has been overpaid by NNPC for fuel imports, and that many leading international traders are involved. According to Otedola, NNPC contracts to pay its suppliers the market price on the day a ship is loaded with fuel. He said NNPC recently discovered, however, that bills of lading were altered to reflect loading on days of high market prices. Discrepancies were found when comparing dates on the bills of lading with dates of landing in Lagos.
    ¶4. (C N/F) Pointing to examples, Otedola said that while a tanker loading fuel at a refinery in Bahrain usually takes four weeks to arrive in Lagos, comparisons between the bills of lading and dates of arrival of some shipments reflected only a four-day difference, and in other cases, if taken at face value, indicated the journey took nine months. Otedola said 73 shipments from refineries in the Persian Gulf, England, and Venezuela listed delivery times of only one day. NNPCis attempting to get compensation for the over-charge. Otedola went onthat most of the fuel traders supplying Nigeria are implicated in over-charging NNPC, and showed a list of 17 companies that supplied fuel in the first quarter of 2004, several of which, he said, are significant players in international markets, such as Trafigura and Vitol. Otedola added that three companies clearly not involved in the scandal are British Petroleum, ChevronTexaco and Shell.
    ¶5. (C N/F) Otedola recommended that NNPC stop contracting with international fuel traders and negotiate purchases directly from refineries worldwide. According to him, such a move would have two positive effects. Otedola calculates that NNPC would save some four billion dollars a year in expenditures on imported fuel. (Note: Prior to deregulation in October 2003, NNPC, then the sole importer of fuel, lost two billion dollars per year because it sold stock to retailers below purchase price. After October 2003, NNPC initially stopped subsidizing fuel sales, letting marketers import fuel to be sold at market prices. However, sources agree that NNPC isback in the business of subsidizing gasoline sales while it maintains a facade of deregulation by encouraging private marketers to import fuel that NNPC purchases at market price. NNPC then sells the fuel to marketers and retailers at a reduced price to ensure that those companies maintain a profit margin while holding consumer prices to informal caps set by the Department of Petroleum Resources. End Note.)
    ¶6. (C N/F) Otedola added that by cutting out the international traders,NNPC would also enhance the environment in which Nigeria’s refineries could be restored and operated. Otedola said he believes international fuel trade “mafias” are behind the failure to bring Nigeria’s refineries back on-line and to capacity. Otedola is convinced these traders arrange for the vandalizationof crude oil feeder pipelines, which keep the refineries at Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna closed or under-capacity. He said the international traders generally receive at least onemillion dollars per shipload of fuel to Nigeria and have grown accustomedto the easy money Nigeria offers as long its refineries remain down.
    ¶7. (C N/F) As an example, Otedola described an arrangement the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) had with Sahara Energy for the provision of diesel to an emergency power generation plant in Abuja. He said that while a pipeline was under construction to deliver fuel to the main power plant,
    NEPA paid some five billion dollars toSahara over four years for diesel to the back-up plant. It was later discovered that NEPA had received only about one billion dollars worth of fuel, according to Otedola. Otedola said that he, too, was contracted to deliver diesel fuel to the plant on occasion; however, he petitioned the president to investigate the matter after becoming suspicious of NEPA’s ongoing contract with Sahara and the fact that the pipeline for the power plant was never finished. He said his intervention led to an investigation that ultimately resulted in the cancellation of NEPA’scontract with Sahara.
    ¶8. (C N/F) COMMENT: The allegation that international traders bilked NNPC of hundreds of millions of dollars is yet another example of thepoor management of Nigeria’s energy sector, and highlights the complex links between crude sales, fuel importation, refinery maintenance, and energy productionhere. Otedola is probably right in suggesting that long-standing sweetheart deals between the NNPC and a variety of fuel traders is keeping the system inefficient. That may also explain why the GON just can’t seem to get its refineries running even after spending a billiondollars or more on maintenance contracts over the last four years. Otedola said he initially bid to purchase the Port Harcourt refinery offered for privatization, but he recently told President Obasanjo he will not invest in the refinery so longas NNPC purchases fuel from traders instead of negotiating directly with refineries in other countries and leasing ships itself to deliver fuel to Nigeria. It is not clear if Otedola’s assumption that the international traders’ stake in Nigeria’s current fuel market is the main driver behind the country’s refinery woes. But it is clear that the fundamentals of infrastructure security, interim supply stability, and transactional transparency must still be addressed if the GON is to be taken seriously about its efforts to deregulate and largely privatize Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sector. END COMMENT. HINSON-JONES

    • This is the reason protesting Nigerians said “Kill Corruption and not Nigerians”. The protests on the fuel subsidy removal was actually more than protesting against fuel subsidy removal. It also had underlying protests against corruption and indiscipline in goverment, a fight for that which rightfully belongs to each one of us that’s been stolen by top goverment. It was more than “revert back to 65 naira”, it was more of “give us that which rightfully belong to us”, “save the future of Nigeria for our children”.

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