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Fuel Scarcity is creation of artificial suffering for citizens, ASUP says

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By Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse

THE Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has condemned the current fuel scarcity, describing it as a sad commentary for an oil producing country.

It also described as unfortunate the event that has thrown people especially the common man in to artificial sufferings

This was contained in a communique issued at the end of the first quarter 2022 Zonal (Zone A) Executive Council (ZEC) meeting of the union
The communique was signed and made available to newsmen in Dutse Jigawa state, by the zonal publicity secretary, Comrade Basiru Yusuf.
The communique reads, “The hike in prices of petroleum products and the unfortunate influx of “off-spec” petroleum products have crippled the social and economic activities of the people in this country”

According to the communique, the level of inflation, worsened by incessant increases in the prices of
electricity and commodities are of a great concern to the association.

ASUP in the communique decried the threats of insecurity sweeping through the country as indeed being worrisome particularly as it related to the wanton disregard for lives and properties by criminals in the form of rural banditry and kidnapping, armed robbery, communal/religious clashes, secessionist agitations, etc.

It therefore called for deployment of new and improved coordinated efforts to curtail them, “We are hereby calling upon the government at all levels to urgently take decisive action to address all security challenges in Nigeria because what obtains today directly affects academic activities especially in Northern Nigeria where some schools and colleges are closed”.

The association expressed worry that the federal government has not fulfilled its part of the agreement entered with ASUP for the suspension of the last strike action of the union. “It is believed that there is need for urgent release of N15 billion revitalization fund as well as minimum wage arrears to the affected members of the sector in order to lay this issue to rest permanently”.

“The continued non-remittance of National Housing Fund, Pensions fund and other third party
deductions by IPPIS to many federal institutions has attracted the attention of the ZEC.

“This is a
testimony of the widespread accusation against the IPPIS. The ZEC therefore uses this medium to call the attention of relevant Ministries and Agencies to swiftly ensure that all such remittances are made”, the communique stated.

It added that finding has revealed that there is an ongoing undue interference by external forces in the
appointment of the Rector in Kaduna Polytechnic without recourse to the polytechnic Act 2019 (as amended)
They asked for the
strict adherence to the provision of the law in the selection process as they cautioned against such meddling in the spirit of fairness.

The communique also frowned at the recent reversal of the 65 years’ retirement age for polytechnic staff by Kano
State Government, while its earlier pronouncement was loudly applauded across all quarters. “We are calling on the government to maintain its former position considering it is part of the provisions of the Polytechnic Act (as amended 2019).

ZEC called on the Niger State Government to urgently look into the non-remittance of 7
months check-off dues for Niger State Polytechnic Zungeru chapter of the Union to enable it
operate seamlessly.

“ZEC is hopeful that government will facilitate the reopening of schools and students hostels in
various institutions affected by the security situation and make schools across the nation safe and
conducive for learning”.

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Obi sounds the alarm over deplorable Power Situation

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***Says Nigeria cannot grow its economy in Darkness
***Expresses sadness that Nigeria is the lowest per capita wattage in the World.
***wants a Technical Task Force in Place.

The incessant power situation in the country with record of national grid collapse 141 times in 11 years is a case for urgent pragmatic solutions, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general election, Peter Obi has indicated

He expressed deep concerns that Nigeria has only 13,000mw while the demands are about 200,000mw.

Obi pointed out that even with the 13,000mw, only about 3,500mw are available for homes and businesses noting that the situation puts Nigeria as the lowest per capita wattage in the World.

In an article, titled “The Collapsing Electricity Sector”, the LP standard’s bearer said “The Nigeria electricity supply industry faces real and present danger of collapse despite the efforts made in more than two decades to initiate a reform of the NESI.
“It is sad today that we suffer periodic and routinized system collapses that are attributed to such avoidable situations as fire outbreaks at critical transmission lines across our major cities.
“It is absolutely distressing and a story of a low level of managerial capability that the entire nation can be plunged into total darkness for a reasonable period because networks go out because of a lack of diligent attention.

“It should worry any Nigerian patriot that the total installed capacity for a country of more than 200 million people with an aspiration to become a global medium economy power is a mere 13,000.
“Worse still, only about 3,500mws are available for homes and businesses from the grid. Sometimes, it grinds to less than 2,500mws. This is unacceptable.
“We can contrast the available supply of electricity with competitor countries in Africa like Egypt and South Africa with respective populations of approximately 112m and 59.6m people supplying about 60,000mw and 58,000 respectively.
“This difference in energy wattage has massive implications for human development and economic growth.
“Nigeria today has the world’s lowest per capita wattage in the world, interesting lower than those of most of our West African neighbours.
“It is really sad that whereas our energy demand is above 200,000mws, we have only 13,000mw installed capacity and can only deliver regularly less than 4,000mw.
“After speaking with experts in the sector I have realized that the crisis of power supply in Nigeria relates to two major sectors: (1) generation, and (2) transmission and distribution.
“The major challenges of the generation sector are the lack of a regular supply of gas arising from the failure of the government in the last 8 years to provide adequate gas infrastructure facilities, weak commerciality of gas to power and failure to control the restiveness of angry youths leading to vandalism.
“It is shameful that for more than 8 years we cannot resolve the infrastructural bottlenecks that constrain the supply of gas to power plants despite billions from CBN for legacy gas debts.
“On the transmission and distribution side, the last 8 years have witnessed terrible failure to overcome the deterioration of networks and transmission and distribution networks and invest in modern technologies like SCADA leading to poor coverage, lack of effective coordination between TCN and discos leading to load rejection and inability to generate public trust for policy reform on tariff and leading to low private sector investments.
“If we had a good project manager, we would have massively increased generation, transmission and distribution capacity and enhanced policy coherence that would have crowded private sector investment in the degree to sustained rapid growth of the grid. The problem is that the government have exercised the required political will to appoint the right kind of leadership that understands the problems of the sector and has the singular dedication and competence to create quick wins in the short term and transformation in the medium to long term.
“I suggest that the Federal Government immediately constitute a technical task force of real professionals without political consideration to present a diagnosis of the crisis of the sector and to get to work to correct such simple slippage like incessant fire outbreaks that lead to perennial system collapse, drastically improve coordination and coherence between TCN and discos so there will be no load rejection, and breath down on all operators to deliver on their technical responsibilities. This will rapidly improve power availability in the short term while the government develop clarity to articulate an integrated national electricity policy and a practical implementation roadmap that harmonizes national and sub-national electricity reform efforts to ensure rapid and expansive delivery of reliable, adequate, and affordable electricity.
“We are too endowed to be a nation of generators and to be trapped in darkness. We cannot grow our economy in darkness.

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Tinubu applauds Dangote Group over diesel price reduction

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From Ahmed Rufai, Dutse
Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu has commended the examplary achievement of Dangote Oil and Gas Limited, in reducing the gantry price of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), also known as diesel.

The Group recently reviewed the gantry price of AGO, downwards from ₦1,650 to ₦1,000 per litre for a minimum of one million litres of the product, as well as providing a discount of ₦30 per litre for an offtake of five million litres and above.
The price review represented a 60% drop, which will, in no small measure, impact the prices of sundry goods and services.
A statement signed by Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), Ajuri Ngelale, on Wednesday, said the president affirmed that Nigerians, domestic businesses, and the transportation sector, will benefit enormously from the price reduction.
Tinubu noted that partnerships between public and private entities were essential to advancing the overall well-being of the country
The federal government currently has a 20% stake in Dangote Refinery.
The president then called on Nigerians and businesses, to, at this time, put the nation in priority gear while assuring them of a conducive, safe, and secure environment to thrive.

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Budget 2024: Again Obi uncovers more insensitive, undeserving allocations

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The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, Peter Obi has again uncorvered lopsided allocations in the 2024 federal budget

Obi in his previous remarks on the budget called for a total review of the budget

He insisted that there were various misplacement of priorities tilted against poor and vulnerable Nigerians

Obi expressed dismay that the National Assembly Hospital was receiving whooping N15b for one year, the amount which he said is five times more than that allocated to the National Hospital and six other premier Teaching Hospitals in the country.
The former Anambra Goverrnor made his observation his verified X handle on Tuesday

In his words ‘I will remain persistent in my expressions of deep concern about the 2024 budget because of its critical importance to the lives of the citizens especially the poor in our midst.
“I will continue to do so until the end of the year as a matter of patriotic engagement. This is because the many negatives of the budget have far-reaching implications for the development of our dear nation and the well-being of our citizens.

“It is evident that there are items in the budget that do not align with our current circumstances, and it is imperative to call for a review and appropriate virement. Allocating our scarce resources to high-priority areas of need is essential for the well-being of the nation.

“For instance, allocating N15 billion solely for the National Assembly hospital is unacceptable, especially when it exceeds five times the budgetary allocation to the National Hospital or the combined capital vote of our six major teaching hospitals across the nation, namely; University College Hospital, Ibadan; University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu; Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria; Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife; Jos University Teaching Hospital and University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.
He said the disparity reflects a low level of care for the rest of society.

“Similarly, justifying a budgetary allocation of N15.3 billion for the National Assembly library project and procurement of books, including the e-Library, in a country without a National Library is very disappointing.
“The National Library has been under construction for the past 20 years, and its budgetary allocation for 2024 is less than 1B Naira, which makes the National Assembly Library budget 15 times more.

“Again the National Assembly Library budget is more than the combined budget of the top national universities’ libraries that desperately need the Libraries for research, teaching and learning purposes.

“Furthermore, allocating N10 billion for the Senate’s and House of Representatives car parks and the National Assembly Recreation Centre, while allocating less to the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, is concerning. In an era where science, technology and innovation are crucial for the nation’s future, such allocations demonstrate a lack of foresight and basic awareness of global trends and urgent national priorities.

“This level of insensitivity to the present situation and challenges faced by the people should not be tolerated by any development-minded nation.

“Every scarce resource must be directed towards productive sectors of the economy. It is time for our nation to reassess its priorities, revisit the budget, eliminate frivolous expenditures and channel our resources properly for the benefit of the people.

“No great nation is built on a foundation of waste and frivolity.”

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