Nigeria is an enduring gangland. Any consideration of the Nigerian situation must derive from the understanding of the fact that Nigeria is gangland, governed by the ethos and practices of the gang, clique or cabal in every area of life.
Criminals and criminal enterprises control and own Nigeria in every sector as in gangland. The uninitiated has no chance to thrive as nothing of public benefit to anyone or group happens in Nigeria without a gang fronting and backing it.
The political groups are run as gangs pursuing partisan interests in direct opposition to the common good.
The principles and character of the gang govern and control the petroleum industry in Nigeria. And the chieftains, appointed or wildcatting, operate in the manner of a crime gang.
Peter Obi should know this, being so deep in business in the country. He showed an understanding of this fact of Nigeria in dystopia when he made a succinct and convincing analysis of the claimed petroleum subsidy in his scribble sheets during the 2023 presidential campaigns. In order to avoid the crime gang is the reason he rejected the offer of an oil block many years ago.
His simple but convincing explanation of the falsity of subsidy resonated but was conveniently ignored by government, opposing political parties and the complicit Nigerian media.
Peter Obi’s postulations directly confront the subsidy cabal which has entrenched membership from across government, industry and the Trade Unions. In fact, Obi’s postulates threatened to unravel and dismantle the gang that has for decades mounted a chokehold on the petroleum industry and the Nigerian economy through intricately woven conspiracies and contrivances.
Peter Obi made comparison between Pakistan, a country of comparable population figures and economic circumstance as Nigeria. Nigeria, he says, consumes double the quantity of petrol utilized by Pakistan, a country of similar population and development situation. That is evidence, he says, that Nigeria’s petroleum consumption figures are inflated, forged to serve the purposes of a huge unending ponzi scheme run by an entrenched junta.
Peter Obi holds that Nigeria consumes no more than half of the petrol volume published by government and NNPC. The other half for which Nigeria is bled through diabolic book keeping are figures conjured on paper with no evidence of consumption within Nigeria.
Through gangs of petroleum smugglers at the borders, Nigeria supplies most of West Africa with petrol purchased at official price from NNPC and sold at more than double purchase rates across the borders. All these are recorded by NNPC as consumption within Nigeria.
These cross border smugglers of petrol are implacable gangs who buy protection from Nigerian security forces. So also do the bunkering gangs and crude smuggling cartels protected by the security forces in Nigerian coastal and international waters.
So when NNPC publishes figures stating that Nigeria consumes 60 million litres of petrol daily, know that those figures are conjured. Secondly, far more than half of that figure are sold across the borders with the active involvement of the oil industry gangs and the security forces as armed protection gangs.
The issue of subsidy arises in the first place because officials of government and petrol marketers need a name to hide the figures for crimes they themselves commit. The large difference between official prices in Nigeria and the selling prices in Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso accounts for inflation of the volumes of petroleum consumption in Nigeria by the NNPC. The border areas between Nigeria and its neighboring countries are ungoverned space ruled by petrol sales gangs whiplashing the Nigerian economy without mercy.
All of these border gangs only serve as retailers for the cabal at the apex of the petrol market food chain in Nigeria. Together they rule the black market in West Africa. The well coordinated gang system is always a tightly knit and secretive collaboration between the big marketers, NNPC and the government itself, benefitting not the government of Nigeria but its dark and hidden operators.
When Buhari placed the NNPC under Fulani and northern control, he didn’t do it because he wanted to kill the gangs but because he wanted his own people to take control of the lucrative cabal. He also wanted to take charge of the cabal in the petroleum industry, hold it firmly in his own hands and make it a Fulani dominated criminal gang. By making himself petroleum minister, the entire industry was put under his direct charge and control for eight years.
NNPC and the Ministry of Petroleum have never published records to validate claims of subsidy on the consumption of petroleum products in Nigeria. As is typically Nigerian, everyone makes claims and analyze the subsidy matter but there are no records private or public on which to make valid calculations, deductions or projections into the future.
So anybody announcing the removal of subsidy without showing the underlying costs and volumes of imports from across the years and demonstrating to the nation an understanding of the arithmetic of the scheme and convincing us what’s to be gained or lost will be implementing a cover-up of the crimes committed across the years in the name of subsidy payments.
So many organizations, accounting firms and analysts have asked for records both for consumption of petroleum products in Nigeria and for values and costs of exports of crude and imports of finished products. NNPC never budges to provide these figures. NNPC is thus considered as the company with the most secret and opaque operations in the entire world.
Without a true and fair audit of NNPC including it’s import/export operations, no real facts of petroleum subsidy can ever be known.
The Nigerian government keeps bandying figures of the cost of subsidies running into trillions. But government never dares to publish the basic arithmetic leading to those figures. We are fed daily with the figure of subsidy in trillions but we never get to confront the unrevealed figures of consumption and costs leading to those claimed numbers.
How many litres of petrol does Nigeria truly consume daily, monthly and annually? The crude for refined products exchange arrangement, how does it truly work? What terms govern the transactions and why are these terms not published? With which companies and entities does NNPC conduct these transactions that lead to subsidy payments and why are they never named?
Transactions in the petroleum sector has over the decades become so increasingly and deliberately muddled up and opaque that even accounting and management experts are intimidated by the maze of circuitry in the mysterious accounting system of NNPC. As a result of this mischief, Nigeria flies totally blind in the management of it’s most important economic resource. The accounting system in NNPC must be unraveled and simplified to obey international accounting rules and practices.
Until there’s a revelation of figures and numbers, we cannot keep being fed pork and misleading information of subsidy removal without the evidence.
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