For some months now, Nigerians have been groaning under the implications of prolonged petrol scarcity that has crippled businesses and wasted quality time as people spend long hours on queues as petrol stations. In the face of this hardship and to rub more salt on our wounds, the Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke has said that Nigerians are to blame for the scarcity.
According to Premium Times, she said at a press conference in Abuja yesterday that Nigerians should stop complaining about petrol scarcity and suffer the pains of it because the scarcity was caused by their demand for transparency in the petroleum sector.
She added that Nigerians demand for transparency and accountability coupled with the government’s determination to ensure same was the cause of the sufferings.
“We cannot eat our cakes and have it. We cannot keep calling out for transparency and accountability and pointing at corruption if we are not prepared to bear some of the hardship that will obviously come when you are trying to clean up a sector,” the Minister was quoted as saying.
Madueke, however, not done with blaming Nigerians for the petrol scarcity, also claimed that the government has already reduced the scarcity being witnessed.
“The verifications were being done; payments could not be made by Finance and I think they have said that severally, but the verifications have been done; payments are now being made and like I said the queues have actually begun to go down.”
Premium Times further noted that in Abuja where she claimed the scarcity has reduced and where she is based as Minister, motorists still spend several hours on petrol queues which sometimes are over 200m long; with many petrol stations not even selling the product. Black market operators can be seen selling the product at over 100 per cent the approved price with their transparent jerry-cans everywhere in the Nigerian capital.
The Minister however gave Nigerians some hope as she said the scarcity should disappear before the festive period. She said already the ministry had released petroleum products from its strategic reserve to reduce shortages.
The Minister’s statement has not gone down well with Nigerians. Many say that she shouldn’t be putting the blame on the people for the failure of the Petroleum Ministry. Transparency and accountabilty are qualities every Ministry should have had long before now and so Nigerians don’t have to bear the burden of the Ministry’s efforts in achieving this.