On Wednesday, the GMD of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Ibe Kachikwu, addressed reporters at the presidential villa and said the current scarcity of fuel being experienced is expected to last for another two months. He said he and his team were having sleepless nights and working hard to ensure that the issues go away, but “one of the trainings I did not receive is that of a magician.”
The media reported the story and Nigerians decried the fact that the scarcity of petroleum products which began since 2015, with only a few weeks of respite this year, is going to remain until almost half of the year is gone.
However the NNPC has protested against the media reports, saying Kachikwu’s statement was a “benign and sincere assessment” and was misrepresented by the media. However, the NNPC statement which was signed by its new spokesman, Garba Deen Mohammed, did not explain what exactly the media misrepresented in Kachikwu’s statement. In fact, it basically echoed Kachikwu’s words, replacing two months with “in the weeks ahead”.
“…the Corporation is doing everything possible to end the noticeable fuel queues in most part of the country in the weeks ahead noting that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has activated the enablers to ensure sanitization of the fuel supply and distribution matrix,” the statement said. “For the avoidance of doubt, it is pertinent to state that efforts are in full gear to eliminate all extraneous factors which have so far impeded the free flow of petrol across the country, especially the issue of foreign exchange for oil marketers which the Honorable Minister is working with the Central Bank of Nigeria to resolve”
The media reported all of that, and rightly quoted Kachikwu who said that it is going take at least two months for most of the issues to go away. So the NNPC statement was basically claiming a misrepresentation but repeating what Kachikwu said.
The statement ended with: “While apologizing to Nigerians for the recent hardship in assessing petroleum products, the NNPC assured of normalization of the fuel supply and distribution system in the weeks ahead.”
IN THE WEEKS AHEAD. Right.