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Fuel scarcity is structural violence against citizens, says don

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Motorists queue for fuel along Awolowo Road in Ikoyi, Lagos at the weekend PHOTO: FEMI ADEBESIN-KUTI

A teacher at the Lagos State University (LASU), Dr. Sylvester Odion Akhaine, has described the fuel scarcity in the country as structural violence against Nigerians.

In a statement, Akhaine, an associate professor of Political Science, said: “I am upset by the man-made sufferings that Nigerians are going through when they ought to be celebrating the Prince of Peace. They have become citizens of ‘low intensity’ in their own country by no fault of theirs.

“Indeed, it is difficult to extend sheer prayers to Nigerians amidst empirical evidence of their sufferings. Christmas, which means God is with us and the expression of the perfect restoration ‘of the presence of God’, has been violated by a rudderless, patriarchal and medieval administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“All over the country, fuel pumps are suddenly not running and the people who customarily use the period of Christmas for family re-union and other sundry merriments are unable to travel as cost of transportation has consequently shut up with a general inflationary effect on goods and services.

“This is not the change that Nigerians voted for. But what is prevalent is a reinforcement of the status quo, underlined by corruption, hopelessness and the absence of political will,” he said.

The professor noted that the perennial problem of fuel shortage in the hands of successive administrations including the present one had been explained in ways that were not only senseless, but childish and laughable.

He said the private refineries had not been allowed to work because of an elite consensus to keep Nigerians impoverished by denying them access to a natural endowment while aggrandising themselves.

“Smuggling across the borders with collusion with security personnel is commonplace and is part of the problem. It is preposterous to hinge the fortune of people on a Dangote Refinery, which is yet to be consummated and which ultimately will put Nigerians at the mercy of a super monopoly.

“If the truth must be told, the current artificial scarcity is a practical effort to further increase the price of fuel and must be resisted by all.”

Akhaine said the Buhari administration wasted billions of naira prospecting for oil in the Lake Chad basin when available evidence dating back to more than two decades and in the public domain had “shown that oil does not exist in the basin.” According to the don, the money could have given the country more than one modular refinery and help in some ways to less the burden of domestic supply.

“The solution to our perennial fuel scarcity lies in building of more refineries by both public and private concerns.”


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