By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
The Socialist Party of Nigeria, (SPN) on Friday described the present lingering fuel scarcity and sale of petrol above official pump price in Nigeria as a conspiracy among the ruling class in the country.
SPN in a statement made available to newsmen in Ibadan signed by its Oyo State Secretary, Comrade Abiodun Bamigboye condemned the scarcity asking the working class and unions to through their collective struggle reclaim the oil industry from the full domination and control of the few cabals and placed it under a collective ownership and democratic management and control of workers and poor masses.
The party lamented that if the oil sector is not taken over from the ruling class and the cabals and placed “under a collective ownership and democratic management and control of workers and poor masses, the enormous crisis that continue to bedevil the oil industry as well as other sector of the economy will sooner or later resurface again even if the on-going fuel scarcity eventually subsided as promised by the Buhari-led government. “
“The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), Oyo State Branch, decries the lingering fuel scarcity and sale of petrol above official pump price arising from shortfall in supply and hoarding of petrol across the length and breadth of the country. This is a consequence of a conspiracy among members of the ruling class which include elected or appointed political office holders and their friends in oil business obviously to make more profits and to create a wider atmosphere to continue the loot of the public treasury at the expense of the poor working but suffering masses in preparation for the 2019 general elections,” he said.
SPN added in the statement that it was unfortunate that ” One year into the office, the Buhari-led government increased the pump price of petrol from N87 to N145 in May 2016. The false impression was that the introduction of the over 100% hike in pump price of petrol will permanently end the perennial crisis of hoarding, diversion and smuggling of petrol across the border so as to ensure an adequate and sufficient supply of petrol across the country”.
“Today, the situation across the country is such a pathetic one, in the sense that the perennial crisis of long queue and fuel scarcity arising from hoarding of petrol has not only returned on the streets of most Nigerian cities but also the pump price of petrol in most filling stations across the country now hovers between N180 and N300 per litre. SPN condemns and rejects the lingering artificial fuel scarcity, criminal act of selling a pump price of petrol beyond the standard price of N145 by the oil marketers as well as various forms hardship the working people are undergoing as a result of the combination of the on-going crisis of fuel scarcity and hoarding of petrol from one part of the country to another.”.
The party stressed that “at the same time, SPN maintains that the failure of the Buhari-led government like the preceded PDP-led governments to guarantee adequate supply of petrol to Nigerians has further showed that all of the age-long crisis that bedevil the Nigeria oil sector cannot be resolved on the basis neo-liberal policies of privatisation and deregulation of the oil industry.”
SPN maintained that, it was “through the imposition of these two neoliberal policies of privatisation and deregulation on the oil sector by the successive governments including the Buhari-led administration, that the ruling class succeeded in handing over the control of the entire oil sector (upstream and downstream) to tiny oil tycoons (international oil companies IOC, local oil industries, oil block owners, oil importer and marketers, ship owners and storage facilities owners etc.) who in reality only run the industry for the profit interest of the tiny caber while the Nigeria government through the National Nigerian Petroleum Co-operation, NNPC only receive bonuses, royalty and taxes “
The party however advocated the convocation of a process to kick start a conference of the working people so as to commence deliberation over how to conduct a united struggle for repair of existing refineries and building of new ones by the government.
“It is in the aspiration for a permanent end to the crisis in the Oil industry that, SPN calls on the Leadership of labour movement, particularly NLC, TUC and ULC including civil society organisation like JAF to kick start the process to convene a conference of the working people so as to commence deliberation over how to conduct a united struggle for repair of existing refineries and building of new ones by the government, nationalisation oil sector linked with demand for higher new minimum wage; payment of all outstanding salary arrears and improvement in living condition!”