Nigerians not enjoying benefits of fuel subsidy – Poll

Nigerians have blamed corruption and mismanagement of petroleum subsidy funds as the major factors hindering citizens from enjoying the full benefits of subsidy.

NOI Polls, in its weekly poll result released yesterday, stated that about 52 per cent of Nigerians who purchase Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, are of the view that Nigerians have not enjoyed the full benefits of petroleum subsidy.Subsidy-Incorporated

Giving a breakdown by geo-political zones, 72 per cent of North-east respondents claimed Nigerians have enjoyed the full benefits of the petroleum subsidy, compared to 37 per cent of respondents in the South-South who shared similar view and 40 per cent in the South-West.

In the North-Central, 42 per cent of respondents believed that Nigerians have enjoyed the benefits of petrol subsidy; 49 per cent and 50 per cent of south east and north-west respondents respectively, share similar view.

This perception, according to the polling agency, may be guided by the fact that a larger proportion of Nigerians purchase petrol at a price above the subsidized rate ofN87.

The poll further revealed that majority of its respondents blame corruption as the key factor hindering Nigerians from enjoying the full benefits of petrol subsidy.

Specifically, 66 per cent of the respondents identified corruption as the factor that has hinder Nigerians from enjoying the full benefits of petroleum subsidy; 39 per cent blamed it on poor management of petrol subsidy, while 18 per cent blamed it on efficient regulatory authorities.

Furthermore, 12 per cent of the respondents blamed their inability to enjoy the full benefits of subsidy on difference in the cost of fuel importation; 12 per cent chose inefficiencies of petrol price control mechanisms, while four per cent blame it on bad government/leadership.

Given this set back, the poll pointed out that a significant proportion of Nigerians, about 42 per cent, especially from the South-East zone, would support the full removal of fuel subsidy to a great extent, while about 44 per cent of Nigerians, mainly from the North-East and North-West regions would not support the full removal of petrol subsidy by the government.

Commenting on the poll result, NOI Polls said, “An evaluation of the awareness and perception of Nigerians on the drop in global crude oil prices revealed that majority of Nigerians, about 71 per cent, who buy petrol are aware of the drop in the price of crude oil by 50 per cent worldwide. As a result of this drop, almost all the respondents, about 94 per cent, who purchase petrol believe there should be a corresponding drop in the price of petrol in Nigeria to reflect the drop in the price of crude oil worldwide.

“In line with this, the price of petrol dropped by ¦ 10, bringing the official price of petrol to ¦ 87 per litre as announced by the Federal Government in January 2015.

“In spite of this, majority of Nigerians suggest petrol price should drop to a price ranging from ¦ 50 – ¦ 70 (an average of ¦ 59), to correspond with the drop in the price of crude oil worldwide.”



Anxiety as Jonathan, ministers hold last FEC meeting

President Goodluck Jonathan

Anxiety on Tuesday gripped ministers and other top government officials in Abuja ahead of the last meeting of the Federal Executive Council under the Goodluck Jonathan administration scheduled to hold on Wednesday (today).

The apprehension was triggered by a report (not by The PUNCH) credited to the Minister of Information, Patricia Akwashiki, that President Goodluck Jonathan would dissolve his cabinet during a “valedictory session” of the FEC on Wednesday(today).

But Akwashiki on Tuesady refuted the report and urged the general public to disregard it as “false and malicious.”

The minister, in a statement by her Press Secretary, Joseph Mutah, said at no time did she speak to journalists on the dissolution of the FEC by the President.

Akwashiki said she was surprised that a news report, which initially quoted an unnamed minister from the South- West, ended up crediting her as having made the “tendentious comment.”

The FEC   is the highest decision-making body of the Federal Government and it consists of the President, the Vice President, all ministers, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the National Security Adviser, the Head of Service of the Federation and some top presidential aides.

The council members meet every Wednesday to take decisions on national issues.

Since the tenure of the current administration expires on May 29, the council’s valedictory session has been fixed for Wednesday (today).

A minister, who spoke with our correspondent on the report that Jonathan might disband the FEC during its session on Wednesday( today)   said he was not aware that such would take place.

He said that he was aware that some of his colleagues had   been making contacts in order to confirm if such would happen during the meeting.

The minister said, “I am not aware that the council will be dissolved. Some of my colleagues had actually called me to find out. Since I don’t have any information on it, I am also still reaching out to know the true situation.

“The truth is however even if it happens, it won’t meet any of us unawares.”

Another council member, who is not a minister, however, said although the President would expectedly thank members during the meeting, he might not dissolve the cabinet since he still has over a week to be in the saddle.

He said, “The news is everywhere that Mr. President may dissolve the cabinet on Wednesday (today). I have been trying to confirm this but I have not been able to do so. Let us wait and see what happens.

“But dissolving the cabinet during Wednesday meeting will mean that the President will be running the affairs of the country alone as a sole administrator till May 29.

“I don’t see him doing that now. That can be done next week, very close to the handover date.

“You should also note that many of the ministers are members of either the government’s Transition Committee or the Inauguration Committee.

“The question is if the council is dissolved now, will they continue serving on the committees in their personal capacities or   will they cease to be members? Let us wait and see how it plays out.”

Preparatory to the Wednesday (today) meeting, some council members met separately with Jonathan on Monday.

The meetings were held apparently because the President was scheduled to attend the 47th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government holding in Accra, Ghana on Tuesday.

Among those who consulted with Jonathan on Monday evening were the Minister of Petroleum Resources,   Diezani Alison-Madueke; Minister of State, Finance, Bashir Yuguda; Director-General of the Bureau of Public Procurement, Emeka Eze; and the Chief Economic Adviser to the President,   Nwanze Okidegbe.


Niger lawmakers get N17m each, stop gov’s removal

Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu

Our correspondent gathered that the lawmakers after receiving the N17m each were also promised by the state government that their other demands would soon be met.

Consequently, the lawmakers have decided to stop the impeachment move against the governor.

Though the Speaker, state House of Assembly, Isah Kawu, refused to comment on the issue when our correspondent sought his reaction to the development, sources at the assembly complex including lawmakers, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the development.

The speaker, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone said, “I cannot speak on this issue on the telephone or anywhere on the matter.”

But one of the lawmakers confirmed this to our correspondent.

He said, “It was not as if the governor bribed us, it is our legal entitlements and we have a right to ask for it before the expiration of our tenure. We have been paid and calm has returned to the assembly complex.”

Asked whether it was true that the lawmakers had dropped the impeachment plot against the governor, the lawmaker said, “there is no need for it again.”

Another source in the state House of Assembly Complex told our correspondent that each of the lawmakers was paid N17m as part of the allowances they were being owed since February.

This development, the source, who is a worker in the assembly complex said, had brought calm to the House of Assembly complex as the state police command had withdrawn security operatives from the building. This, he added, had given the lawmakers free access into their offices.

It will be recalled that last week, the lawmakers had sacked the leadership of the assembly and elected a new leadership over a series of allegations including non-implementation of house resolutions, poor staff and members’ welfare and non-release of the statutory allocation to the assembly for months. This, it was learnt, was done to pave the way for the removal of the governor.

To frustrate the lawmakers, the governor had headed for the court where he secured an order to restrain the legislators from making any move to impeach him.

The governor had gone to the court after the peace meeting between him(Aliyu) and the newly elected principal officers of the House failed.

The House of Assembly was also occupied by security operatives for so many days to prevent the members from entering into the assembly complex to carry out their legislative duties.

Due to this, Kawu had threatened to institute a legal action against the Niger State Police Commissioner, Mr. Emmanuel Amore, over what he described as the illegal occupation of the state House of Assembly by security operatives.