The Vanguard For Transparent Leadership and Democracy (VATLAD) has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to first assume the position of minister of petroleum resources and repeal the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) if the massive fraud and crises in the Nigerian petroleum sectors were to be resolved.
VATLAD National President, Comrade (Engr) Igbini Odafe Emmanuel conveyed the group’s message in a statement issued on Tuesday, June 20, 2023.
According to the statement titled, Towards Resolving The Massive Fraud And Crises In The Nigerian Petroleum Sector: President Tinubu Must First Assume The Position Of Minister Of Petroleum Resources And Repeal The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), the group said, it was aware of the, “seemingly unending gross mismanagement and massive fraud in the Oil and Gas Sector of Nigeria (Upstream and Downstream) which has extended to recent massive crude oil theft by some multinational oil companies”.
Odafe said they were also very much aware of the dire negative consequences of these vices on Nigeria’s Economy, Social Stability, and National Security.
They alleged that the seemingly unending desire and determination by successive Leaders of the Federal Government of Nigeria to bow to external pressures to remove the so-called subsidy on petroleum products in Nigeria was a result of the massive fraud and crude oil theft in the sector which has continued to deny Nigerians of needed foreign earnings for critical national development.
VATLAD says it commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for patriotically and courageously attempting to confront these vices in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Sector to eliminate them, however, noted that it would be “practically impossible for him or any President of Nigeria, to achieve this patriotic mission by mere reaching an agreement with Organised Labour Unions on implementation of some palliatives”.
They strongly disagree with a substantial part of the proposals so far presented by President Tinubu’s team and the Leaders of the two Labour Unions for addressing the crisis in the Petroleum Sector.
They argued that “the four Refineries had no major operational or technical faults before they were shut down by Directives of some persons in Government. The many so-called Turn Around Maintenance or Rehabilitation of these four Refineries for many years now by different Regimes are also major scams just like the fuel subsidy scam President Tinubu seeks to end.
“Therefore, as the first major action to be taken by President Tinubu to restore sanity to our Petroleum Sector, we are strongly advising him to immediately assume the position of Substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources.
“He must never fall to any pressure or blackmail from anywhere for him to appoint anyone else as the Substantive Minister of Petroleum Resources lest the rot and fraud in the sector will worsen and jeopardise Nigeria’s Peace, Order, and National Security.
“Secondly, there is a very urgent need to repeal the Petroleum Industry Act which has regrettably laid the smooth and protective foundation for these vices to continue to thrive in the Sector and also gave birth to an NNPCL that is the worst thing to happen to the Nigerian Petroleum Sector. It is suicidal for any developing nation to fully privatise its critical national resource like Petroleum and allow so-called international market forces and individuals to determine its survival.
“Finally, we are requesting that the Nigerian Petroleum Sector reverses back to its 1970s Status as State Owned and Managed and operates Joint Venture Partnership with IOCs in line with the laudable OPEC’s Vision and Mission; Nigeria being one of the leading members.
“The sad fact that a few unpatriotic and corrupt top Nigerians in a corridor of powers and NNPC abused the powers of their offices to cause gross mismanagement and massive fraud in the sector is not enough reason to embark on jeopardising our National Security and Economy by allowing a very few individuals to now own and control this massive wealth and petroleum resources of our country as the PIA now allows to do under the guise of Privatisation”, the group said.