From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, on Sunday begged Nigerians to exercise patience over the tortuous challenge of petrol scarcity, giving assurance that efforts were on to end the problem and avoid a repeat of it.
Sylva’s apology was contained in a statement by Horatius Egua, his Senior Adviser, Media & Communications. The Minister reckoned that Nigerians in recent weeks, have grappled with fuel scarcity, not because of the absence of supply of products but due to inspection failure and regulatory negligence, which allowed adulterated products into the country.
“This is regrettable, and the Federal Government sympathises with the citizenry over the unforeseen hardship, occasioned by the inevitable scarcity. Let me, once again, appeal to Nigerians to be patient with the government in finding lasting solutions to the crisis.
“We appreciate the NNPC for showing so much concern to the plight of Nigerians by coming forward with an apology. This is unprecedented and shows that we, on the government side, are not afraid to take responsibility. The Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority has been out on the streets, filling station-by-filling station to ensure that the situation normalises quickly and we are beginning to see the fruits of their efforts”, Sylva stated.
He added that while the ugly development (scarcity) was regrettable, “it is a time that calls for collective action to save a situation that was not foreseen.
“It is not a time to trade blames as is customary in Nigeria. It is, therefore, not a time to query anyone but a time to come together to salvage the plight of the average Nigerian.
“After the storm settles there will be time enough to investigate and get to the bottom, so that this does not repeat itself.
“Mr. President’s charge to all parties and agencies concerned is to work together to ensure that normalcy returns quickly. The Nigerian people deserve the best and President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is determined to set the country on the right path of petroleum products availability and sustainability, as demonstrated in the award of the contracts for the rehabilitation of all our refineries and the acquisition of stake in the Dangote Refinery. Let us as Nigerians stand shoulder to shoulder in our shared quest for a greater country,” the minister added.
Meanwhile, Daily Sun observed that fuel queues have substantially thinned out in various parts of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Sunday.
The development seems to be a confirmation of government’s assurances that fuel queues would gradually disappear from this weekend when 3.2 billion litres of safe petrol imported is injected into the domestic market.