In confirmation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s claim that governors mounted pressure on him to remove subsidy and increase the price of fuel, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 said that all 36 Nigerian governors are in support of the fuel subsidy removal and the eventual increase in the price of fuel.
Expressing his support for the federal government’s move, he said the reforms are necessary in the oil sector, maintaining that though the reforms would cause immediate pains to the average Nigerians, the long terms benefit cannot be quantified.
Okowa spoke in Asaba, the Delta State capital when he received the management of Warri Refinery and Petro-Chemical Company (WRPC) led by the company’s chief operating officer at the state government house on Wednesday.
“If the refineries succeed, Nigeria will succeed and different states will succeed because the importation of fuel has impacted negatively on the revenue of government,” Okowa told his audience.
“All the state governments are in support of the liberalisation of down-stream oil sector of the economy because, we are caught in the web as the price of oil is very low and there are no foreign exchange to continue to import fuel.
“I sympathize with all Nigerians, we did not anticipate this situation, I believe the federal government will find ways to cushion the effects of the liberalisation but, above all, there are lessons to be learnt from the situation, we need to diversify our economy as quickly as possible.
“The restructuring of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the liberalisation of the downstream oil sector if followed through thoroughly will impact positively on the economy and create jobs for the citizenry.”
Governor Okowa used the occasion to decry activities of pipeline vandals, observing that while such had negative effect on the environment and the resources of the country, activities of economic saboteurs have affected negatively the oil production.
“An advocacy committee led by the deputy governor is currently on sensitization visit to oil producing communities for the people to protect the pipelines and government property in their areas,” the governor said.