Letter To Mr. President
By Alhazan Abiodun Rilwan
Aisin’ile Ologbo, Ile di’le Ekute.- Yoruba proverb. This translates to the fact that the absence of the house cat gives the rat liberty to wander around the house without fear.
President Tinubu, do you know that while you are busy fighting proxy wars in Niger, the suffering Nigerians who you recently asked to exercise patient over the effects of fuel subsidy removal have been under intense robbery by those being paid to secure their fuel purchasing power?
I mean that the Department of Petroleum Regulation (DPR) is now an affiliate of Petroleum Marketers Association. The regulatory body which the Nigerian constitution is saddled with the responsibility of checking the excesses of fuel marketers has collided with the Shylocks to rape us more.
Your Excellency, since you removed fuel subsidy to allow flourishing free market, DPR, marketers and their minions to the level of fuel attendants have perfected ways to burrow our pains by adjusting their pump meters. I know you will say ‘ko possible!’, but that is our reality. We are being gang-raped by our own people.
Don’t ask me what has the Senate Committee on Petroleum Regulation done o! They are still in holiday, after the Senate President ‘dropped prayers in their accounts’ last week. I have looked up and down and discovered that there is nobody to report these evil people to than you, Omo Olodo-Ide.
Do you know that I don’t buy fuel at any outlet that the attendant will hold the nozzle while selling? I started this gimmick when I discovered that the attendants find ways of distracting customers by this time, while they squeeze the nozzle control to inject air instead of fuel. I forgot you may not know this. When last have you entered fuel station to buy the product!
I bought fifteen thousand naira worth of fuel at SAO Petroleum outlet at one of its outlet along Iwo Road, Ibadan on Wednesday and despite my attentiveness, I still got robbed. My car’s gauge that used to be almost filled with twenty-five litters fuel when we were buying at one hundred and eighty naira per litter, showed the needle in the middle. I nearly cried!
I couldn’t complain because the meter reflected that I bought 25.4 liters of fuel and I just got in my car and left, while the attendant kept busy screwing others.
I learnt that the primary role of the Department of Petroleum Regulation is to supervise all Petroleum Industry operations being carried out under licences and leases in the country and to monitor the Petroleum Industry operations to ensure that they are in line with national goals and aspirations including those relating to Flare down and Domestic Gas Supply Obligations. The question is ‘are they carrying out these functions as expected? Since the hullabaloo that followed the subsidy removal, Mr President, have you heard any good news from the stable of DPR?
It is no more news that when DPR officials want to go out and monitor or inspect fuel stations, they will send message to the fuel marketers association in the community that they are coming. Which hunter sends message ahead to his game that he is coming for a kill? The calculation is for the association to gather enough money from its members while those that fail to contribute will have their names submitted to DPR officials. Those are the petrol stations that will be shown on camera being sealed!
I know you may not know about all these atrocities but it is what it is. You may want to ask me what is my suggestion because the Senate is sleeping and your advisers are yet to resume office.
I wish you can just set up a task force that will comprise men and women of integrity in each State and local government that will report directly to the highest military command in the State. The only thing our people fear in Nigeria today is the soldier. Not police or Civil Defense Corp.
These men and women of integrity will gather information about erring fuel marketers and stations and report same to the military in a manner that will not arouse suspicion of the offender till arrest is made and the culprits are made to face the law.
Don’t let me bore you with too much Ofofo early in the morning. It is my own little mark of patriotism and the fact that I couldn’t sleep well, knowing fully well that I was screwed by the rats at the fuel station yesterday.
My sincere regards to aunty Oluremi Tinubu.
Enjoy your day.
•Alhazan Abiodun R.