Time to treat a malignant tumour

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The return of long queues at filling stations in Lagos, Abuja and other cities across Nigeria at the weekend has once again brought to the fore the need to curb the excesses of oil marketers.
These marketers and indeed workers’ unions in the petroleum sector have formed the habit of blackmailing both the government and the citizenry at the slightest opportunity by inducing artificial scarcity of petroleum products as well as embarking on strikes over largely frivolous
matters.
This is the case with the current fuel scarcity which has resulted in untold hardship to motorists, commuters and businesses. Purposely-induced, the current fuel scarcity, according to reports, resulted from the desire of the oil marketers for a jack-up of fuel price, because in their view, the current price of N87 per litre is no longer realistic.
The marketers said they were no longer interested in importing the product in view of the rising exchange rate of the dollar to the Naira as well as to protest delayed subsidy payments and rising interests on loans from banks. All these appear logical but in self-interest. Having realised how central fuel is in our lives and the economy, oil marketers use every opportunity to inflict pains on Nigerians while smiling
to the banks.
This must not continue.
For it to stop, government must summon the political will to end the perennial importation of petroleum products. This will mean enhancing the capacities of existing refineries and new ones coming to life via the creation of a conducive environment, including full deregulation of petroleum products. For all this to happen, there is need for government and the citizenry to be on the same page.

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