Chris Steven, Abuja
A civil rights organisation, Stand Up for Nigeria Coalition (SUN-CO), on Monday said it would mobilise Nigerians against the ineptitude of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which, it said, has been “threatening the peace and stability of the country.”
The group was reacting to the worsening fuel scarcity in the country, describing it as “economic terrorism being perpetrated by enemies within.”
Speaking at a Christmas Day press conference in Abuja, the Convener of SUN-CO and human rights activist, Philip Agbese, said having taken time to study the underlying causes of the scarcity and the resulting hardship visited on Nigerians, it came to the conclusion that the leadership of NNPC had a hand in it.
He recommended that President Muhammadu Buhari should appoint a Group Managing Director for the NNPC to replace Maikanti Baru.
According to him, the coalition was aware that Baru had all the needed free hands to run the NNPC as its GMD and the attempt by him to pass off the blame to the marketers in an attempt to save his job.
Agbese said, “This, to us, is considered to be the height of embarrassment to the Buhari’s Presidency and the Nigerian people who go through this harrowing experience on a daily basis just to celebrate this season of love with their families and friends.
“We have watched the worsening fuel crisis with alarm and concern as Nigerians are coerced into wasting useful man-hours queuing for Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise called petrol, while almost half of the country’s population are denied the most important religious holiday having been prevented from spending Christmas holidays with their families.
“This is not the best of times for anyone as a patriot to sit on the fence as the situation is at variance with the welfare policies of the Buhari’s administration. Anyone that prophesses to love the country must first love the President and at all times be supportive of his well articulated programs and policies in line with this vision.
“It is unfortunate that the enemies within have had a field day in the last few days perpetrating this economic terrorism and do not care about what happens to the image and personality of President Buhari who have been trusted by Nigerians with the mandate to redeem them from sufferings and pains inflicted on us by past leaders of this country.”
SUN-CO therefore called on Maikanti Baru to “immediately resign as NNPC GMD”, since he has allegedly lost the confidence of Nigerians after proving that “his loyalty lies with the industry cabal and not for the well-being of the common man.”
The group described as wickedness and callousness the action allegedly exhibited by the GMD and his cronies at the NNPC, saying it was a further proof that some highly placed persons were deliberately sabotaging the efforts of the President.
Agbese said, “The kind of failing that resulted in the current scarcity is therefore the sole responsibility of Baru, who must at this point acknowledge that he has failed Nigerians. He has lost the moral right to continue to preside over the affairs of the NNPC since he has proven helpless in dealing with the problem for which several organizations and opinion leaders have indicted him.
“We therefore urge President Muhammadu Buhari to save his government from further incurring the anger of Nigerians by ensuring that Baru is shown the way out if he lacks the decorum to fall on his own sword after the punishment he has imposed on the country at a time when all citizens should be joyous.
“We urge Mr. President to immediately name a new leader for NNPC so that Nigerians would not have a repeat of the 2012 scenario when they had to rise up against the government over the handling of fuel issues. The only understanding after series of meetings and consultations is for fuel to immediately return to the filling stations and let us end this suffering and pains caused by the ineptitude of one man who is abusing his rights and privileges.
“We shall continue to stand with President Buhari and his programmes to reset Nigeria back on the path of progress and development and will never hesitate to mobilise ourselves against the ineptitude at the NNPC which is threatening the peace and stability of the country.”