The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) yesterday rejected the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
The PIB was recently laid on the respective Chambers of the National Assembly (NASS) after 13 years of indecision.
CNG said it has intended consequences in the Northern regions of the country.
The Coalition noted that the Bill is merely an extension of the elite monopoly of the total available economic activity in the country at the expense of ordinary Nigerian citizens with dire consequences on the Northern region in particular.
Addressing reporters in Abuja spokesperson of CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman observed that the new Bill (PIB) suggests a total departure from the current trend where the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) will be commercialised and these three major agencies Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) will be merged to form an authority that will regulate the oil business with the implication of total deregulation of the market.
He said: “The current structure of the oil market suggests that PMS is sold at government-approved price across the country, where the consumer in Sokoto, Borno, Awka or Lagos can buy at the same pump price of N165.
“This is achieved through the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (Management) Board (PEF(M)B) whose responsibility is the reimbursement of petroleum marketing companies for expenses incurred in the transportation of the petroleum products, especially PMS from Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri, Calabar and other areas to their outlets across the country.
They demand the immediate halt of the process for the PIB in its present construction as it would invariably impact negatively on the livelihood of Northern communities, especially those of the far Northeast and Northwest who would be forced to buy fuel at a disabling-inflated price.
He added that “it is also suspected that eventually the four Nigerian refineries will be sold to individuals, just as Benue Cement and other publicly-owned cement industries.
“The fact that the said the private refinery was initially to be launched in 2017 but shifted to 2018, 2019 and now September 2021 has heightened the suspicion of financial underhanded deals by some members of the National Assembly and the private refinery owners to influence the passage of the Bill.”