By Milcah Tanimu
Former Vice President and 2023 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to hand over the Port Harcourt refinery to a private firm for operation and maintenance. Atiku suggested that instead of opting for this approach, the NNPCL should have sold the refinery to avoid incurring additional debt.
Taking to social media, Atiku emphasized his longstanding advocacy for comprehensive reforms in Nigeria’s oil sector and other areas of the economy. He highlighted his consistent calls for the Buhari administration to break the monopoly in infrastructure sectors, including refineries, and involve both foreign and domestic investors in funding and management.
Atiku lamented that despite his suggestions, the government refused to privatize the refineries, leaving them idle for years while bearing substantial staff salary costs. He criticized the decision to secure a $1.5 billion loan for rehabilitation and expressed his concerns about turning the rehabilitated refinery over to private operators for operation and maintenance.
In his post, Atiku urged the NNPCL to provide a satisfactory explanation to Nigerians regarding the benefits of their chosen privatization approach. He emphasized the need for transparency and accountability in the process to ensure that the interests of Nigeria and its citizens are adequately addressed.