The Federal Government has been urged to initiate genuine measures to resuscitate the nation’s refineries to produce optimally to meet local demand.
The Archbishop of Methodist Church Nigeria, Umuahia, Most Rev. Chibuzo Opoko, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Umuahia.
Opoko said that it was shameful that several decades after oil was discovered in Nigeria, the country still depended on imported refined products to meet its local need.
He said that the government must show concern for the situation by resuscitating existing refineries in addition to building new ones to refine products for local consumption and export.
“This is the only way we can overcome perennial fuel scarcity in Nigeria.”
According to him, the Federal Government should waste no further time to fix the nation’s refineries and also construct new ones to refine our crude.
“It is a shame that after many decades of discovery of oil, Nigeria is still importing refined products.
“This is a colossal waste and it is a ploy by some unscrupulous people to continue to deny Nigeria the foreign exchange it ought to earn through the export of refined products,” Opoko added.
He expressed concern that all the Turn-Around-Maintenance of existing refineries had not yielded the desired result hence the facilities were still functioning below capacity.
He called for the arrest and prosecution of persons who had continued to sabotage government’s efforts to get the refineries functioning.
The cleric also called for the revitalisation of Nigeria’s steel rolling mills in order to pave the way for the nation’s industrial growth.
He pointed out that multi-national companies had left Nigeria for neighbouring West African countries due to harsh economic situation, while the country became a “dumping ground” for all kinds of second-hand goods.
He admonished Nigerians to shun nepotism, tribalism and religious bigotry which, he said, became the basis for employment at the expense of federal character.
Opoko agreed with President Muhammadu Buhari that 2017 was a tough year, saying “the economy has not improved as envisaged”.
He said that in many states of the federation, regular payment of workers’ salaries and pensions had remained a mirage.
On politics, Opoko noted that promises were made but not kept, adding that such had caused disillusionment among Nigerians, which had led to restiveness and agitations in different areas. (NAN)