Friday, 6 January 2012
#occupy Nigeria: AN OPEN LETTER TO Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi by Kayode De Force Oluwa *Happy new year from GEJ? part 2*
I would have wanted to also address in this letter, Mrs. Diezani Allison Maduekwe and Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, but, since Nigerians don’t really know who you people are, except that Mrs. DAM was one of the top-staff in Shell, and is the First Minister of Petroleum Resources in Nigeria at least according to her twitter page (@diezanimadueke). And for Dr. GEJ, the only thing we know about you is that you are the incumbent and “SERVING” President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Oh, and also, that you had no shoes. Apart from that, for the two of you, we really don’t know who you are, and we are yet to know what you stand for or against. We are still looking, so, we can’t talk much.
As for Mrs NOI, and Mr. SLS, Nigerians don’t really know who you are anymore. Who are you people really? And are you truly for us or against us? Are you black or white? Please let us know. In this letter we will only address Mrs. NOI.
Ma, on the 7th of February, 2010, at the 5th Annual the Future Awards, Nigerian youths were gathered and you revealed to us something we didn’t know about ourselves. The Nigerian youth comprises 70 percent of the Nigerian population. Our mouths opened and could not close and we listened with rapt attention as if we are sharing some earth-shattering discovery. You automatically became our Hero, and we almost worshipped you. You became the father, the mother, and the much-needed mentor we never had. You gave us identity; you told us that Nigerians belongs to us, and not just to the 30percent. You said that we should demand good governance and accountability and we should fight for our rights even if it means peaceful protests. We believed you wholeheartedly and @EiENigeria (Enough is Enough Nigeria) was formed. @GbengaSesan, @Chude, @Bubusn, @AbangMercy, and others ran with the vision. You said we should fight for Truth and Justice. In case you don’t know Mum, we listened to you. We have braced ourselves up against corruption; we have armed ourselves with truth. We now demand transparency.
Fast-forward to 2011. We have heard so-many of your arguments for the removal of the subsidy. We too don’t support the subsidy of inefficiency and corruption but because you have taught us to read, question, and demand transparency, we have dug up facts, we have dusted Nigerian history, we have read about other Countries, we have given counter-arguments, we have proposed alternatives, we have made our case known. Mum, we have done everything you told us to do on that fateful day, 7th of February, 2010, but Mum, you became our Enemy. You betrayed us.
Firstly, when you were presented with the KPMG independent Audit, you studied it, we all studied it. With all the massive irregularities, monumental fraud, and leakages in the Nigerian Oil Sector as highlighted, we expected a strong statement and reaction from you, yet you turned a blind eye to this, instead blaming an unidentifiable cabal. Now, that report is dead. No one sacked, no one jailed, no one resigned. Mummy, why?
Firstly, Mummy, you are quick to compare Nigeria with other countries, saying Indonesia, Malaysia, and Iran removed subsidy, so, Nigerians too can remove subsidy with appropriate safety nets. What you refused to tell Nigerians is that before Indonesia removed subsidy, the price was N29 per litre and after staggered and step-by-step removals over Years it became N87 per litre. Also, you intentionally didn’t tell Nigerians that it was because their Oil reserves were dwindling and they have become a net importer of oil (i.e. they needed to import Crude at international prices) is why they considered removing subsidy. Nigeria produces enough Crude Oil to cater for its domestic needs. Iran, also was selling Fuel to its Citizens for N15 per Litre which increased to N60 per Liter after subsidy removal. Also, you didn’t tell us that Malaysia spends $14 billion US dollars and Iran spends $45 billion US dollars yearly on Fuel Subsidy as compared to Nigeria’s spending of $9 billion US dollars as at the time they removed their Subsidy. Ma, you also didn’t tell us that Iran, Malaysia, and Indonesia were subsidizing for their citizens below the cost of refining, while Nigeria was subsidizing for her own citizens the cost of not refining.
Secondly, Ma, you told us that the cost of Fuel in Nigeria is one of the lowest in the World. Ma, what you tried to hide from us is that you were comparing us with non-Oil producing countries. At N65, we have the 14th cheapest Petrol in the world but the 3rd most expensive in OPEC. Angola is a Country just out of war, same as Iraq. We are not just out of a War! After the removal of the Subsidy, Nigeria will be 42nd place in the world around Countries like Russia, China, Peru, Jordan, Taiwan, and the United States. In OPEC, we will probably the most expensive or competing with POST-WAR Iraq and Angola. Also, you refused to tell us about the standard of living in these other countries you are comparing us with. Nigeria is struggling to pay N18,000 minimum wage while average monthly salary of Kuwaiti employees is around ($3,650) i.e N551,150.
Thirdly, you told us Ma that the cost of Fuel will be N120 after the removal of Subsidy but a quick visit to the PPPRA shows that the Landing cost of Fuel without the Distributor’s margin is N131, and the Distributors margin around N9.34. What magic in the world did you want to perform to bring it down to N120? Will the refining company or shipping company run at a Loss?
Ma, you have taught us to ask questions, so we will do some simple Mathematics.
You claimed around 1.4 trillion was paid in Subsidies in 2011 and according to the SURE document N1.134 trillion is re-investible from PMS subsidy removal. Simple mathematics shows that since 75 naira is the amount paid on PMS subsidy, that means Nigerians consumed N1.134 trillion / N75 = 15,120 million litres in the year. More mathematics says daily consumption averages 41.42 million litres i.e. by dividing the annual consumption by 365.
Now, you and Mrs. DAM have not been able to explain to us how Nigerians started consuming 41.42 million litres by day, when a cursory look at the past NNPC records for the past 13 years (1997 – 2010) shows that the highest we have ever gone is 27 million litres? Did Nigerians suddenly start buying Cars and Generators? Another quick look at the statements by Senator Bukola Saraki that roused the whole subsidy brouhaha showed that probably Nigerians started drinking fuel around June, meaning that consumption was stable at around 27 million litres for the first 6 months, then in the last 6 months, consumption became around 55.8 million liters per day. It is still a mystery unsolved what Nigerians started doing starting from June, after the Inauguration of the present Government that would gulp 55.8 million litres. Mummy, you are in power to be our voice in Government, but you turned your back on us when we needed you the most.
In 2010, 2.8 million litres of PMS were refined averagely per day in NNPC (Local Refining). Are we paying subsidies on that also? Yes, it must be because if not, then Mrs DAM still has more explanations to make on how 1.134 trillion was spent on subsidy when 2.8 million litres per day is domestic refining. Doing a quick calculation reveals that 76 billion naira is the amount of subsidy paid on UNSUBSIDIZED domestically refined fuel.
Again, we don’t understand the distraction methods created by the Senate Probe committee and Mrs. DAM by criminalizing the Petroleum Marketers in Nigeria by calling them the Cabal that have been eating the N1.134 trillion meant for the Subsidy. A quick look again at the PPPRA pricing template clearly states that the N122.51 is the cost of a litre of Fuel i.e. the cost of a litre of Fuel coming from the foreign refinery and shipping costs for it to land at our own Ports. The Logic is N122.51 – N65 = N57.51 on every litre paid as SUBSIDY to the Refining and Shipping companies. It means N861 billion out of the so-called SUBSIDY money is the cost of us having to refine outside the country and then ship it back to our own country and it is paid to foreign refining firms and shipping firms not to the Marketers. Is it the fault of the Marketers that Nigeria can’t refine? At least according to the PPPRA template, the real money entering the hands of the Marketers is N6.5 which is essentially the dealers and retailers margin. The annual sum then gets to N98.28 billion. The cost of transportation and bridging is N8.85 naira per Litre, and that is just because the pipelines are either bad or vandalized. Then we ask again, is it the Marketer’s fault. NNPC doesn’t have adequate or has unutilized storage depots and the private hands store Fuel at N3 per Litre and then you ask again? Is it the Marketer’s fault? Who is in business that doesn’t want to make Profit? Instead of looking at the real problems, they told us it was a Cabal that was stealing all of our money, are they dipping hands into the Federation account? Are they not being paid by PPMC?
Mummy, you sold Nigerians the story that you are trying to take Money from a powerful few and redistribute it to the Poor. How much are you taking from these “Cabal”? N98.2 billion of legitimately earned money. Nigerians believed you because they thought they were fighting the Cabal. We are not deceived, they are not the real Cabal. Identify them in NNPC. Identify them in our Past and Present Leaders and Politicians.
Mummy, we are really tired of explaining mathematics because we know you know better than us at these things, at least that is why you were the Vice-President at the World Bank. My only question is why did you sell us out?
There is still one more thing that confuses us, and this we are not sure anybody has asked you before. We will paint a scenario.
If Nigeria were to refine all the Crude Oil necessary to meet Local Demand, we might have to refine like 400,000 barrels more than we currently do per day. So, since, we don’t refine that Crude which is meant for Nigerians internal consumption, the Nigerian Government sells that Crude on the International market as part of its export. For example, if Nigeria exports approximately 2 million barrels per day. If the refineries were working, Nigeria will only be able to sell 1.6million barrels per day. So, we can safely assume that extra 400,000 barrels of Crude Oil is being sold on behalf of the Nigerian people daily. Bringing out our Calculator again: 400,000 * $106 * 365days = $15.48 billion, but as Mrs DAM has successfully hidden from us what percentage exactly the Nigerian Government profits from Crude Sales, let us assume only half (50%) of it is remitted back to the Nigerian government. That gives us $7.73billion which is approximately N1.2 trillion. This amount alone covers for the subsidy of PMS. Where does that Money go to?
Ma, We really want to stop disturbing you right now but We also remembered you told us you were still consulting widely with stakeholders and that a probable date is fixed for April 1st, All of a sudden, you gamed Nigerians on the First day of the new year. This is not how you raised us up in truthfulness and integrity.
Presently, the Nigerian Youth has the feeling of being raped, that eerie and awful feeling of being raped by a close Friend and Confidant. We discussed and discussed and had Press releases but the Government would not listen and then @renoomokri was “sent” to come insult our intelligence and teach us how to read the constitution.
You said, when all else fails, we should employ peaceful protests to advance our position which we obediently hearkened to. Now Mustafa Muyideen Mofoluwasho Opobiyi is dead. A 23 year old young man is dead. He had completed his studies in computer training at Da’arul Salam Computer Training Institute of Information and Technology. He arrived in Abuja post-graduation for a short vacation but was shot down in cold blood by Nigerian police at the pro-subsidy protest in Ilorin, Kwara state by the Nigerian police. Ma, you are now in Government, who authorized the Police to shoot him down?
Another of us was brutalized ( ) by Policemen at Maryland today, who authorized them? Ma, we just wish to remind you that you are in Government today and you are also to be held accountable. Section 40 of the Nigerian constitution protects the Nigerian Citizens right to Assemble. “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests:” Why Ma, have you gamed us?
Ma, we’d like you to know that there is no going back moreso since some of us have been gunned down. We continue our Protests tomorrow. Are we still going to be gunned down tomorrow? You are in Government, you sponsored this Policy, and being a truthful person that we “hope” you are, please tell us the truth.
The Sub-Saharan Spring has started. Ma, would you want your name to go down in History as the same person who encouraged Youths to engage their Government and Protest when need be, and also be the same Person that will be noted as the Flag bearer of the Policy which caused the Protests?
There is something Nigerian Youths will want you to do for us.
1. You must rescind on this subsidy-removal policy which you heralded.
2. You must apologize to all Nigerian Youths, your Children, 70% of the Nigerian Population.
3. You must publicly tell Nigerians that you are not being used by IMF or the World Bank.
4. You must tell the Labour Minister that apart from NLC and so-called Hoodlums who were protesting, there is also a class of Nigerians called the Enlightened Nigerian Youth.
5. You should tell Mrs Diezani Allison Maduekwe that her antics has not deceived any of us.
6. You should tell Mr. Labaran Maku that Nigerian youth are now more informed and we just don’t swallow everything hook, line, and sinker. Also, that it was an insult on us for him to tell us that we should be thankful that President Jonathan is a Patient and Calm man.
7. Finally, Ma, if you cannot rescind on this Policy at this moment, we’ll appreciate if you will honourably resign. This will help send a message to the Jonathan led government that his policies and methods are unpopular.
I will leave you with the words of your Friend and Colleague @obyezeks (Madam OBY), She said:
“Today, we have no choice but to go back to basics and try to regain the people's trust. In 1946, philanthropist Joseph N. Pew Jr. said, "Tell the truth and trust the people”. Analytical evidence shows that economies that respect citizens' SPACE and VOICE to contest Policy grow better and faster. History shows that it becomes a slippery slope when nations try to shrink the Public Space for Citizens' Voice. Avoid it!
Social Accountability is now the core of Good Governance which means that engaging with CITIZENS as EQUAL PARTNERS is their RIGHT and not a PRIVILEGE”
The Nigerian youth have spoken! We don’t want a removal of Fuel Subsidy; we demand a stoppage of it. Subsidy wasn’t there originally, and we know what brought it in, eliminate what brought subsidy in, and subsidy itself will be eliminated. Treat the Disease, not the Symptoms!
I hope you Listen. We still trust you. We believe you will do what is right.