03 January 2016, Abuja – A former Minister of Petroleum and Energy and ex-Minister of Mines, Power and Steel, Prof. Tam David-West, has said Nigeria’s inability to refine its crude oil locally is due to sharp practices by government officials manning the sector.
According to David-West in an interview with our correspondent, the refineries’ operations are deliberately sabotaged to increase importation of fuel and subsidy claims.
David-West, who served as minister under President Muhammadu Buhari when he was military Head of State between 1984 and 1985, recalled that the country was not importing refined petroleum products under the regime.
He said, “We had only three refineries and we were exporting fuel; we did not import one litre of fuel
“Why did the refineries not work? I wrote an article around 1991 titled ‘Sabotage Theory of Refineries.’ The refineries are deliberately sabotaged to import oil. The refineries can work.
“Our interest is to make the refineries work. If the refineries are working and they are supplied what they required to refine, there is no reason to import fuel at all.”
David-West stated that subsidisation of petroleum products by successive governments over the years was a fraud.
He said sources in the sector told him that officials preferred to sell off the crude meant to be refined locally for personal gains.
The Professor of Virology recalled that Buhari said while serving as the Head of State that there was nothing like subsidy.
He said, “There is no subsidy to remove. Buhari had said there was no subsidy, years before he became president. We are conserving fraud; there is no subsidy.
“You cannot remove what does not exist. To say that they are going to remove subsidy is a contradiction in terms. You don’t remove what doesn’t exist.”