The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu has been heavily criticized and asked to resign in the face of the lingering fuel crisis. This came after he announced on Wednesday that despite the efforts being put in place by the Federal Government, fuel queues might not be completely eliminated until about two months.
Kachikwu who said he can’t do magic said he and members of his team were working hard to resolve the fuel crisis. The scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, has lingered since January as hundreds of motorists crowd at filling stations daily without seeing fuel to buy.
“One of the training I did not receive is that of a magician, but I am working very hard to ensure some of these issues go away.
“And let us be honest, for the five or six months we have been here, NNPC has moved from a 50 per cent importer of products to basically a 100 per cent importer and the 445,000 barrels per day that were allocated were to cover between 50 and 55 per cent importation.
“So it is quite frankly by sheer magic that we even have the amount of products at the stations. We are looking to see how to get foreign exchange input; the President and I discussed extensively on how to get more crude directed at importation.
“His Excellency (Buhari) will rather have less crude but have individuals in the society suffer less with inconveniences than have more crude and have them continue to suffer.
“So we are going to put a new model to enable us to increase the pace and actually get majors as part of the crew of those to bring in more products so that the NNPC will sort of go back on the capacity of what it used to do and the majors will take over the balance of importation.
“I think if we do that, although I don’t want to put a time frame, but I will expect that over the next two months, we should see quite frankly a complete elimination of this (fuel queues).’’ Kachikwu said.
Kachikwu has come under heavy criticism from various stakeholders, including the organised labour, petroleum marketers, oil industry workers, manufacturers and experts in the oil sector because of the comment as he has been asked to resign due to his incompetence to tackle the issues at hand and save many Nigerians from this suffering.
According to Punch, the Trade Union Congress specifically asked the minister to resign instead of giving Nigerians excuses on why it would be impossible to get fuel easily in the country before June.
The TUC, through its President, Mr. Bala Kaigama, called on Kachikwu to resign to give room for a better person to be appointed if he lacked the capacity to solve the current problem.
Kaigama said the positions occupied by the minister were too demanding for him and urged Buhari to appoint a group managing director for the NNPC.
Kaigama stated, “If he is not a magician, he should resign now. What we are saying is that Nigerians are getting impatient with him.
“So, if he has no quick fix to it, he should just quit. We are getting impatient. He is moving from one unpopular policy to another, yet we cannot see any quick fix.’’
The Chairman, NUPENG, Lagos Zone, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, said, “For the first time in the history of Nigeria, we have an official of the government accepting government’s failure. I have said it several times that they have been rationing, and it is going to linger.
“But they shouldn’t allow it to get worse beyond this current situation,” he said, adding that tanker drivers were being subjected to unnecessary workload.
“They will say, ‘Discharge one compartment at Apapa; second compartment at Agege, and the third at Abeokuta. So, the job the truck driver is supposed to do within an hour, he may end up doing it for two days.”