12th May, 2016

Governance is ultimately about the interest of the entire populace, democracy as a form of government compels government to ensure policies are formulated not only to strengthen the authorities or protect the incapacitations of people in power but to ensure the masses are not thrown into servitude and penury as a result of government policies.

As the umbrella body of the entire Youths of Nigeria and the mouthpiece of the most vulnerable to the hardship to trail the new policy on the pump price of petrol designed to ensure the complete deregulation of the downstream sector, we view the policy as antithetical to the real purpose of deregulation. Deregulation is a process of removing constraints, in real sense, it is defined as government-imposed economic regulation aimed at protecting the interest of the governed against exploitations and threats.

Every successive government since 1976 have mismanaged the Petroleum Industry, our government has failed to maximize the opportunities offered to this Country as a large Oil Producing Country where the Pump Prices of Petrol Products ought to be available for domestic consumption at lowest rate which will facilitate ease of commodities, trades cum purchase and supply.

Instead of government to ensure the availability of our abundant natural resources to create comfort for the masses, a high level of retardation has traded the handling of petroleum products by allowing some oil cabals to determine the fates of the masses with the malfunctioning of local refineries. Oil subsidy payment to oil marketers have been a subject of review over the years, previous attempt to remove the subsidy failed as it translated to higher cost of purchase at pump price which informs our extensive study of the intricacies surrounding the oil subsidy and deregulation of the oil sector.

It is the responsibility of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation to efficiently manage our oil sector and ensure the oil products are available at an affordable cost for domestic and industrial usage. The low functionalities of our refineries have doomed the Country for Crude Exportation to foreign refineries through a process often shrouded in secrecy to dupe Nigerians in spite of common knowledge of price of crude per barrel time to time.

The beneficiaries of oil subsidy payments and the NNPC have always subjected the masses to exploitations by fixing Pump Prices often static for a long period against fluctuations of price of crude which amount to rape on the purse of commoners. A Government of the People has once again acted against the norms of democracy that commandeer proper consultations and explanations of policy for peoples understanding and trust before pronouncement of such sensitive policy at a period when the masses are enduring economic hardship.

The government has failed to announce the indices and parameters engaged in arriving at such an alarming pump price of 145 Naira. Considering expertise and common sense, if Crude currently sells at 46.23 Dollar per barrel, Nigerians deserve to know the cost of refining per barrel, transportation expenses, products availability, volumes distributed and consumptions.

We are not convinced that the removal of oil subsidy translates to an increase in pump price as usually claimed by government. The issue at stake is domestic usage and not foreign exchange or oil trade, payment for our crude to be refined and transported back to the Country for proper distributions and efficient usage shouldn’t be shrouded in secrecy, the whole details should be available to the people without element of deceit to justify proper pump price regulations.

In a Country of few people of good conscience, the Federal Government got it extremely wrong to regulate the pump price at 145 Naira considering the absence of means of ensuring the masses are not subjected to exploitations by oil marketers and filling stations owners that will buy lesser than imagined and sell at outrageous rates under the regulation. We do not consider the removal of oil subsidy as translating to increase in pump price and as such, there is no justification for the 145 Naira Pump Price Regulations.

We understand the good intention of government to deregulate the oil industry, create competition and block leakages in the interest of the masses but the government has not acted rightly by not informing appropriately on the indices used to arrive at that alarming pump price which inform our opposition to the new pump price announced by government. Putting all factors into proper considerations, we are strongly convinced that the intention of government is still attainable within a regulate pump price below 95 Naira even with the removal of subsidy and before we can hold a different view, government must come forward to give details to justify their claim in an engaging forum with experts from Civil Societies, Labour and Youth Movements.

We demand an immediate downward review of the pump price and call on government that necessary machineries be conveyed to guide against exploitations of the masses by the oil dealers and guard against deprivations of the masses of the gains of the full deregulation of the downstream sector. This is the time for Mr President to prove his sensitivities to the plight of Nigerians and not be glued to uniformed decisions of the handlers of petroleum industry under his watch and supervision.

A Peoples’ Oriented Government will ensure that the people are not subjected to economic servitude under any guise; we demand serious explanations from our government. In the past, we witnessed situations where oil dealers were gaining more than 40percent or more profit on a litre at pump price and the government has just opened another window for the oil dealers to even make 60percent profit in this new order of 145 Naira at Pump Price which is not only an aberration but grievous exploitation of the downtrodden.

For over 70 Million Nigeria Youths:

Comrade Ibukunoluwa Oluwole           Comrade Balarabe Rufai

Chairman, NYCN Caretaker Committee           Secretary, NYCN Caretaker Committee  

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