Lai Mohammed Reveals Why Buhari Can No Longer Remove Fuel Subsidy

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The Nigerian government has revealed why the removal of petrol is impossible at this period, while also disclosing the routes oil thieves are using to steal millions of barrels produced by the country.

According to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, removal of petrol subsidy will cause instability in Nigeria, as a result, subsidising imported fuel will continue to prevent chaos.

Mohammed defended the position of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration by citing European Union members decision to subsidise fuel to cushion the impact of skyrocketing crude oil price on their citizens.

Nigeria spends N1.24 trillion monthly, with the cost of petrol per litre rising to N600, but the country still mandates filling stations to sell at N165 per litre. Currently, crude oil price is $112.1 per barrel.

Mohammed said, “When you consider the chaos, the social disharmony and … instability such an action (of abolishing subsidies) would facilitate, is it worth it? I don’t think so.” Reuters quoted him in a report on Monday.

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Speaking on the oil theft situation in Nigeria, Mohammed said the thieves are backed by some powerful stakeholders. He said the stolen products are transported through Bonny Terminal Network, Forcados Terminal Network, and Brass Terminal Network.

Breaking down the cost of oil theft, Mohammed explained that in the first three months of this year, Nigeria lost N434 billion, “This puts the figure at about N1.36trillion when converted to naira with the official rate of N416.25 to the dollar exchange rate.

“In the first quarter of 2022, oil theft was worth N434billion. This menace has prevented Nigeria from meeting its crude oil output capacity.

“Out of about 141million barrels produced in the first quarter, about nine million barrels were lost to crude oil theft. This menace has become a national disaster and a critical threat to the nation’s revenue base. Various reports confirm that the Bonny Terminal Network, Forcados Terminal Network, and Brass Terminal Network are major routes for this organized crime.” He said.

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Meanwhile, he faulted EU policy on climate change, considering the members are now turning to crude and also subsidising fuel cost. He said their campaign for green energy is affecting investment into Africa.

“We believe that climate change is real and important for emission control, but there is a bit of double standard in the EU policy regarding climate change.” Mohammed stated.

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