Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu on Tuesday in Abuja apologised to Nigerians over comment that was not trained as a magician that would proffer solution to incessant fuel scarcity in Nigeria.
He was responding to the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) headed by Senator Jibril Barau on invitation to explain reasons behind endless fuel scarcity and the Corporation’s inability to overcome the situation that has lingered for months.
“We know that as Minister of State for Petroleum, you inherited a rotten NNPC, but you did promise that you were going to do your best to get the best of out of NNPC and the lingering fuel crisis across the nation is a worrisome situation, especially that it seems there is no end in sight, can you tell us what you will do to bring the situation under control? Senator Barau asked.
Kachikwu in response admitted that fuel crisis was an unfortunate scenario which pained the corporation, but stressed that Pipeline vandalism was a major cause of fuel shortages across the nation, which he said has affected production capacity, thereby making it difficult to meet up with consumer’s demands.
“I want to apologize to Nigerians for the comment I made and to the Press for the way they interpreted my comment. I share the pains of Nigerians, I feel the pain everyday. We are pained by the lingering fuel scarcity and on behalf the NNPC, I wish to apologize as well,” he said.
On his comment, he said, he was not an experienced politician, but a technocrats and that was why he said exactly the situation of things, noting that the comment was mistaken for something else, and that if the administration of President Buhari has nothing less than commitment to ensure that Nigerians live a better life, then he should be pardoned.
In his explanation, the Minister revealed that inherited arrears of N600billion which Buhari administration inherited upon assumption of office had paid in an attempt to do away with subsidy regime, while noting that fuel importers had at a time lacked liquidity to go to bank to get loans for importation of fuel.
He also said, “Distinguished, the second reason behind this crisis was fuel marketers inability to pump fuel because they could no longer raise letters of credit from banks to that effect,” he added
He, however, hinted that fuel scarcity will be over by the 2nd week of April as the NNPC was working round the clock to bring the situation under control.
Reacting to those calling for his resignation as a result of the scarcity, Kachikwu maintained that he was not responsible for the current situation, assuring Nigerians that with the level of commitment of the present administration, the situation would become a thing of the past soon.