- Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to set a machinery in motion aimed at unbundling the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
- Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the 7th Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series under the theme, ‘Nigeria and the Oil Misfortune,’ El-Rufai lamented that while the country earned nearly $1trillion from crude oil and gas sales over the past 50 years, the fact that about 70 million Nigerians still live below the poverty line is an indication that the so-called oil fortune is not for the masses.
- While El-Rufai insisted that “NNPC must die” because of its recklessness in the oil sector, the Chairman of Vintage Press’ Editorial Board, Sam Omatseye, sought renewed commitment to the rule of law as a strategy towards curbing impunity and corruption in the oil sector.
- General Manager (Policy, Government and Public Affairs), in Chevron, Deji Haastrup, who also spoke at the occasion, said International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country, appreciate the need for greater transparency in the oil sector, while the former Executive Secretary, Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), Mrs. Adefunke Kasali, lamented that “the oil sector has suffered from gross mismanagement over the years.”
- In his keynote address, El Rufai said fuel subsidy must be scrapped so that its N1 trillion annual budget could be released for capital development, adding that the NNPC has become a parallel government that must be scrapped before its undue appropriation of oil proceeds kill the nation.
He said: “For our vast masses, oil is no fortune; it is more of a mirage, but a more insidious kind, because the fortune is visible in the lifestyles of a few thousands of the privileged elite but is stubbornly inaccessible to tens of millions of ordinary people.
“Our rich enjoy the lifestyles of the richest in the world, while our poor are truly the wretched of the earth. This inequality is most unfortunate.”
- He said there is no justification for entities that pay taxes to turn around altogether and unilaterally withhold trillions of naira, or seek multi-billion dollar federal budget annually to the detriment of the overall good of the nation.
“The corruption and nonchalance that have hobbled the NNPC are symptoms that its best days are over. We should give it a deserved funeral so that a new institution, active and nimble, can promptly replace it; NNPC’s subsidiaries and associated companies can be reviewed, restructured and privatised or commercialised as appropriate consistent with national interest and objectives.