It betrays every iota of common sense to think that a country with a substantial part of its earth’s crust filled with crude oil is currently facing an existential threat due to a man-made energy crisis. Despite being one of Africa’s biggest oil producers, Nigeria is today, unable to refine a drop of crude oil after over six decades of oil exploration. While ‘everyday Nigerians’ continue to groan under the harsh realities that are a result of this abnormality, what they must now understand is that the crux of their problem is tied to a particular oligarchy that has sworn to maintain a stranglehold on the country and her prospects.
There is a consensus among economic experts that refining petroleum products, especially Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) locally is one panacea that will help end the lingering energy crisis facing Nigeria today. Rather than fix them, the Nigerian government has continued to appear hopeless in the face of their collapse. It is rather baffling that while countries without a barrel of oil like Singapore have local refining capacities and are even exporting petroleum products, the deliberate refusal by successive governments in Nigeria to put in place infrastructure that will drive the process points to the level of hypocrisy prevalent among Nigerian leaders. But even beyond the hypocrisy, it leaves one wondering why a country’s leaders will hate their country so much.
For many years, successive governments in Nigeria have continued to bandy staggering figures they maliciously claimed to have ploughed into turn-around maintenance of refineries but there is nothing practically on ground to show for such spending. Every government since 1999 has made fixing Nigeria’s unprofitable refineries to functional capacity a major campaign promise which is forgotten as soon as they assume office. To put it mildly, Nigeria has spent over twice the cost of building new refineries on the moribund refineries which turned out to be extravagant conduit pipes for the looting of the country’s patrimony.
Every genuine effort which has been targeted at finding lasting solutions to the lingering problem which has kept Nigeria on her knees has always been met with stiff resistance from elements in the system who are benefiting from the absurdity. Interestingly, most of these elements are either Fulani Northerners or their southern stooges.
These elements are the reason none of Nigeria’s four refineries is functioning today. Rather than fixing the existing refineries, they have insisted that the petroleum products, needed by Nigerians be imported just to allow them to earn staggering figures as subsidy payments. According to a report by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG, between 2018 and 2022, the subsidy regime which President Muhammadu Buhari had earlier claimed had ended, gulped N9.64 trillion of Nigeria’s resources. The report stated that petrol subsidy grew from N307 billion annually in 2015 to N2.77 trillion in 2022. Many Nigerians do not know that, these elements who are benefiting from the subsidy regime that is behind the conspiracy to punish Nigerians and make local refineries non-functional. It is estimated that a refinery costs between $15-19 billion. From the figures above, the stolen money lining private pockets can build at least one additional refinery, if not more.
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Before Nigeria’s former President, Muhammadu Buhari came to power, he was among those who spoke against and resisted the removal of fuel subsidy. He even branded it a scam. Nigeria’s incumbent President, Bola Tinubu viciously kicked against the policy in 2012, even calling the then President Jonathan several unprintable names in the process.
Refining petroleum products locally is undeniably one immutable solution that successive governments have chosen to deliberately ignore. As a matter of fact, they understand that local refining will not only drastically reduce the huge sum spent annually to service fraudulent subsidy regime, but it will also create more jobs in the long run. To further demonstrate how sinister these elements are, they used government apparatus to ensure that the right case of building modular refineries lost steam. They did this because they clearly understood that subsidy payments were unsustainable and they needed a new approach to continue the heist. To ensure that they retain their stronghold on Nigeria’s socio-economic jugular, they have created a monopoly for their Aliko Dangote in the petroleum industry.
Many Nigerians have not bothered to ask themselves how Dangote managed to succeed with his refinery in a country where hundreds of licenses to build refineries have become useless to their holders. The only reason Dangote succeeded in raising over $9 billion to build a 690,000bpd refinery is that while others sought funding to erect refineries and failed at it – Dangote was able to line up local and international bankers to finance the refinery project. The Kano-born vicious capitalist was even able to convert the Central Bank of Nigeria into his private bank out of whom he squeezed over $6 billion in two years to channel to the refinery project. It was so brazen that Nigeria’s grossly incompetent Central Bank Chief, Emefiele openly boasted that in ensuring the successful completion of the project, CBN had to even provide over N125bn to cover the domestic currency requirements of the venture, while also ensuring the availability of foreign exchange to pay for the importation of some of the machinery.
Nigeria is a country where parochial interests have overwhelmed the national interest. In fact, these elements have succeeded in ensuring that the interest of the Fulani Oligarchy has been shoved down the throats of Nigerians as what is often criminally described as ‘National interest’.
Crude oil which is supposed to be a blessing bestowed on Nigeria by nature has turned out to be a huge curse and an albatross to the country. It is unbelievable! The ever-domineering Fulani has ensured that it has planted their friends, acolytes, and loyalty in the corridors of power just to make sure that they are the sole beneficiaries of the human-made problems they visited upon Nigeria. If a single individual called Dangote could build a refinery with a processing capacity of 650,000 barrels per day within three years, a serious people-oriented government will do more and better. But that is merely an illusion because Nigeria has never had a government that was sincerely people-oriented. It is even weirder to think about the fact that successive government which failed to build one refinery in over twenty years has now become a shareholder in a privately owned Dangote refinery. It clearly, paints a clear picture of how the country is run and operated by this dangerous Fulani cabal.
It is no longer news that many of the oil blocks allocated in Nigeria in the past were done to favour persons from Northern Nigeria. Many of these elements have now become richer than their states and geo-political zones. Nigeria is a criminal enterprise where oil blocks are awarded at the discretion of the president through the petroleum minister largely without any transparent process. It is no secret that many past public officials, particularly those that served during the military era are today proud owners of oil blocks courtesy of the evil Fulani cabal, with some of them selling the blocks for billions of dollars. Ironically, despite owning and controlling enormous wealth, these Northern elements have not done anything about the poverty, drug abuse, insecurity, and other threatening situations in the Northern region.
To further paint a vivid picture of how demonic these elements are, they are the same people who have sworn that the Niger Delta will continue to suffer environmental degradation. These wealthy operators in the oil sector are the ones responsible for the theft of oil and illegal bunkering in the region.
As things stand today, Nigeria is the only member country of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that still imports 90 to 95 percent of refined petroleum products to meet its domestic consumption. For other OPEC member countries, the reverse is the case – virtually every other OPEC member country meets its domestic needs for refined petroleum products through domestic refining. This aberration has to stop and it must stop.
In conclusion, Southern Nigerians must start making deliberate and consciously-intentional efforts to get the country restructured as a means to ending the wicked domination and subjugation by the Fulani Oligarchy who see the country as their personal estate. It is time to insist on operating a restructured Nigeria, backed by a constitution agreed upon by Nigerians, and not a military imposition. Going forward, it should be #Restructure or #Burst for indigenous Nigerians. Nigeria is not an acquired property of the Fulani and their surrogates.