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Tam David-West blames problems of refineries on saboteurs

By on July 24, 2011

A former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum, Professor Tam David-West, has called on the Federal Government to identify those persons who have sabotaged the operations of the refineries in the country.

David-West told journalists on Thursday in Port Harcourt in south-western Nigeria that identifying the saboteurs would bring to an end the era of petroleum products scarcity in the country.

“The problem of recurrent shortage of refined petroleum products in Nigeria is based on the fact that our refineries are deliberately sabotaged, so as to allow fuel importation to continue.

“The mafia importing fuel is making so much gain that it is not ready to allow the four refineries in this country to function well.”

David-West advised the Federal Government to adopt “off-shore processing of crude oil” to stop importation of petroleum.

He explained that the measure would require, “some major oil companies with the capacity to refine the product abroad, to receive crude oil allocation from the Federal Government”.

“These oil majors can refine the crude and send the products back to the country as Nigeria’s quota free-of-charge.

“As a minister, we adopted this measure during Buhari’s government and Nigeria never imported fuel.

“We can equally adopt such measure to end this petroleum racketeering that is going on unabated,” he said.

David-West expressed dismay at the “the colossal waste” the country had exposed its economy to through the importation of petroleum products.

“If Nigeria was well organized, the monies we waste in importation of fuel alone could be used to build four refineries,” he said.

On the agitation for removal of petroleum subsidy, the former minister said: “I have been a minister of petroleum and I say there is nothing like petroleum subsidy.

“My position is supported by Buhari and a foremost economist, Professor Sam Aluko. Petroleum imported here is sold at the expense of the end users,” he said.

The former minister maintained that the relentless jump in the pump price of kerosene was the making of a few selfish individuals.

He therefore, urged President Goodluck Jonathan to rise up to the challenge and compel petroleum marketers to sell kerosene at the official rate of N50 per litre.

David-West served as Minister of Petroleum between 1984 and 1985 during the military administrations of General Muhammadu Buhari and General Ibrahim Babangida.