Fuel crisis: Minister Kachikwu and TUC’s clash

FOR declaring he was not a magician capable of conjuring the availability of fuel, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has asked the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Emmanuel Kachikwu, to resign. Dr. Kachikwu had suggested that he saw no possibility of fuel queues ending until perhaps the end of May because, according to him, what had sustained the partial availability of fuel till now was pure magic. The minister obviously had plenty of magic on his agitated mind.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Dr. Kachikwu are reported to be working hard to proffer a solution to the scarcity. To do this, said the Minister of State, the NNPC would have to end its 100 percent dominance of the fuel importation business. The country will hope that the minister’s promise to ensure availability of fuel by June will be realised. On this promise, there is no controversy, even if they still end up unable to meet the fuel needs of Nigerians.

What is really controversial is the call by the TUC on Dr. Kachikwu to resign should he lack the ingenuity to end the problem. But why target the Minister of State when the Minister of Petroleum Resources has not been pressured to relinquish his office? President Buhari is the minister; he should draw the ire of TUC and other aggrieved individuals in case of problems with the oil industry, downstream and upstream. And since the president has decided to keep the petroleum portfolio to himself rather than assign it to someone else, he should accept responsibility for the crisis bedevilling the sector. The legislature has shown interest in finding out what is wrong with fuel supplies; they should begin by inviting the Petroleum minister, not his proxy or deputy.

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