A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have blamed the hardship caused as a result of the removal of subsidy by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the poor management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) with its attendant increase in cost of living and labour crisis.
To this end, the CSOs with shared common vision of a prosperous Nigeria have have asked the President to relieve Mr. Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director of NNPCL or take responsibility for his abysmal performance in the management of the sector.
In a press statement signed by Comrade Danesi Momoh, Igwe Ude-Umanta, Mallam Suleiman Musa and Godwin Oluoha Esq., the Conveners of Empowerment for Unemployment Youth Initiative, Guardians of Democracy and Development Initiative, Independent Public Service Accountability Watch and Coalition of Public Accountability Situation Room respectively and made available to journalists in Abuja, the CSOs urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to take a decisive action to address the crisis in the oil industry.
The statement read in part, “Mr. President, during your campaigns, you vowed to alleviate the burden on the poor, promising not to suffocate them. However, the current socio-economic conditions in the country have left us wondering and questioning the effectiveness of your economic decisions and policies. You must therefore act fast and decisively to end the sufferings of millions of Nigerians before the whole nation is plunged into anarchy and chaos”
The CSO blamed Mr. Mele Kyari the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and maintained that even though the recent presidential address attempted to offer some reassurance and hope to Nigerians, majority of citizens remain skeptical as the hardships persist even though the deregulation of the petroleum industry and the removal of oil subsidies were deemed necessary to avoid an economic catastrophe.
According to the statement, “without mincing words, we blame the current crisis on the doorsteps of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and its Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, especially for the mismanagement that contributed to the harsh impact of the subsidy removal. Under his leadership, the NNPCL has been embroiled in corruption and secrecy, leading to substantial losses amounting to trillions of naira through subsidy scams and monumental oil theft. We therefore demand Kyari’s immediate removal and the commencement of a comprehensive restructuring of the NNPCL”.
The CSOs also pointed out a particularly troubling area of concern revolving around the opaque and reportedly fraudulent Direct Sale-Direct Purchase (Oil Swap) deal; insisting that, “the lack of transparency and accountability in the oil swap deal, along with other corrupt practices, has raised doubts about the NNPCL’s ability to raise revenue for the government and fix refineries efficiently on the other hand”.
The CSOs urged President Tinubu to act fast in the best interest of the suffering masses and to demonstrate his commitment to accountability by removing Mele Kyari from his position, noting that failure to take action could lead to further protests and exacerbate the already dire situation threatening the very foundation of the country.
“Mr. President, you have a choice to either do the right thing and exonerate yourself or inherit the sins and ineptitude of another person who is intentionally corrupt and bent on swindling Nigerians and soiling your good office and adminstration. Mele Kyari must leave to give room for a thorough and comprehensive audit of the petroleum sector. We voted you because we trusted you. This is the time to show us you are a competent leader with a firm commitment to restore the lost glory of Nigeria as a country of our dreams and hope,” the statement added.
As the country grapples with the consequences of fuel subsidy removal, the CSOs maintained that Nigerians are keenly watching President Tinubu’s next move as the responsibility to address the oil industry mess and alleviate the hardship rests on his choices in the coming days.