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Retirement: Ex-Service Chiefs Get Four Bulletproof Suvs, 20 Domestic Aides, 36 Soldiers




The Chief of Defence Staff and service chiefs, who were retired by President Bola Tinubu, on Monday, June 19, 2023, are to get bulletproof Sport Utility Vehicles, personal aides, guards and other perks of office, including generous allowance for medical treatment abroad, as retirement benefits, Saturday PUNCH has gathered.

The affected senior military officers are the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao.

The Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service for Officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria 2017 (revised), which was exclusively obtained by Saturday PUNCH and marked as “Restricted”, listed the benefits of the retired Generals upon leaving the respective services.

Section 11.8 of the HTACOS 2017, a revised version of the HTACOS 2012, listed the benefits of a retiring CDS and service chiefs to include one bulletproof SUV or equivalent vehicle to be maintained by the service and to be replaced every four years; Peugeot 508 or equivalent backup vehicle; and five domestic aides made up of two service cooks, two stewards and a civilian gardener.

Each of them is also entitled to an Aide-de-Camp/security officer; special assistant of a lieutenant/captain or equivalent, or personal assistant of the rank of warrant officer or equivalent; and nine standard guards of nine soldiers.

The immediate past CDS and service chiefs are also entitled to three service drivers; one service orderly; escorts to be provided by the appropriate military units/formations as the need arises; and free medical cover in Nigeria and abroad.

They are also to retain all military uniforms and accoutrements to be worn for appropriate ceremonies, as well as personal firearms. However, such firearms shall be retrieved by the relevant services upon the death of the beneficiaries.

Section 11.19 of the HTACOS 2017 also listed the retirement benefits of a Lieutenant General for the Nigerian Army, Vice Admiral for the Navy and Air Marshal for the Air Force to include two Peugeot 508 cars, or one Toyota Land Cruiser, two cooks, two stewards, four residential guards, one service orderly, two service drivers, free medical treatment in the country and abroad to the tune of $20,000 yearly.

Meanwhile, many Major Generals and equivalence in the Navy and Air Force are expected to apply for voluntary retirement latest by Monday following the appointment of a new CDS and service chiefs by the President.

In the HTACOS, however, the retirement benefits for a Major General in the Army, Rear Admiral in the Navy and Air Vice Marshal in Air Force, who are two-star officers, include one Peugeot 508, a cook, a steward, two residential guards, one service orderly, one service driver, free medicals in Nigeria and abroad to the tune of $15,000 per year.

Their one-star officers who are Brigadier Generals, Commodore and Air Commodore upon retirement are entitled to one Peugeot 408, a service driver, two residential guards, one service orderly and free medicals locally and abroad to the tune of $10,000 each.

For Colonels, Captains and Group Captains in the Army, Navy and Air Force, respectively, each of them is expected to go with a Peugeot 301 or another car of the same value and free medical cover in the country.

The harmonised conditions of service, however, provided that for Major Generals, Brigadier Generals, Colonels and their equivalents in the Navy and the Air Force, all the benefits could be monetised for the retiring officers.

In comparison, the 2012 version of the HTACOS made provisions for one security car to be maintained by the respective service and replaced every four years; retention of all military uniforms and accoutrements to be worn for appropriate ceremonies, as well as personal firearms, which shall be retrieved by the relevant services upon the death of the beneficiaries; three domestic civilian aides (cook, gardener and steward), or cash in lieu; Aide-de-Camp/security officer; six standard guards; one service driver; and one service orderly for retiring Generals, CDS and service chiefs in Section 09.17.

Saturday PUNCH gathered that the HTACOS was reviewed in 2022 in accordance with the five-year review period, but it was not signed due to rumblings that the senior generals were taking good care of themselves at the expense of the rank and file.

It was learnt that to become operative, the HTACOS would be signed by the CDS with the permission of the President as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

The current HTACOS in use specifies that the CDS and service chiefs must be four-star Generals and can hold the positions for a continuous period of two years and that the Commander-in-Chief can extend such appointments for another period of two years from the date of the expiration of the initial two-year period.

However, Section 11.09 leaves the tenure of the CDS and service chiefs open and at the discretion of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, stating, “The foregoing notwithstanding, the President, C-in-C reserves the prerogative to extend the tenure of a CDS/service chief irrespective of his age or length of service.”

Former President Muhammadu Buhari relied on this provision to retain the services of Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who were appointed in 2015 but were not replaced until January 2021 even though there were calls for them to be sacked based on the rising insecurity in the country.

 ‘Too many generals’

A former spokesman for the Nigerian Air Force, Group Captain Sadeeq Shehu (retd.), said the country had too many generals, which he noted had led to difficulties in appointing service chiefs in the military.

Shehu stated this on Friday in an interview with Arise TV, which was monitored by one of our correspondents.

He said, “The retirement is going to include the Generals in the Army, Air Force and the Navy. What is important is not the effect that this retirement will have on security, because we have enough Generals. If these people go, they will be replaced.

“However, it is important to note that it is not normal for the military anywhere in the world to retire about 100 Generals, and by my own estimate, we have close to 133 Major Generals in the Army, Rear Admirals in the Navy and Air Vice Marshals in the Air Force, that are leaving. We also have to remember that this is not the first time. When the last set of service chiefs retired in 2022, we had another batch of about 100 who left.

“The issue here is when you look at the money that is spent on training these people, whether it is foreign courses or the ones here, the experience we are losing and the money we are wasting on these people and then telling them to go is not good for the national economy.

“On the individual level, I must put the premise that our President and Commander-in-Chief, according to the constitutional requirement in Section 217, has the right to appoint service chiefs and the constitution does not tie his hands that in appointing service chiefs, he must pick either the most senior or the middle senior or the most junior. It is completely within his right to do that.

“But President Bola Tinubu came and met about 350 Major Generals across the services, so to be honest with you, his work was not even easy in picking his service chiefs. I think there is a problem that started long ago. We should not be having 350 Major Generals for the President to pick from. The services themselves or the superintendents in the Ministry of Defence approved that number.”

Shehu added, “When you join the military, they will tell you that the military is a pyramid. Now to maintain that pyramid, the lower bottom of the military should be higher than the next higher level. You are supposed to have a large base of Second Lieutenants who came out of the Nigerian Defence Academy in the Navy, Air Force and Army and as they progress into their second rank, which is full Lieutenant, it is almost automatic unless someone dies.

“But from Lieutenant rank, when you are moving to captain that is when the process of filtering starts coming in such a way that you have like 80 per cent, and from Captain to Major, you have like 70 per cent. Towards the end, at the top which is the General, the ideal is that you have like two per cent and a maximum of three or five per cent. But what do we have in Nigeria?

“According to the research I made, there are some courses that since they went out of the NDA, about 44 per cent of them became Major Generals. This is not a good way to go about it. So, I think the failure has to do with a well-coordinated and modern military personnel management system.

“So, I think the problem was not made by the President himself, but the military as an institution with the strict supervision of the Ministry of Defence should be able to follow this filtering process so that only the best become Generals in line with global practices. Unfortunately, that filter has not been working.”

The former NAF spokesman stated, “Those of us that studied these things as far back as 2012 noticed this tendency of promoting too many Generals. There are too many Generals. I know the times are not like when I joined the military, but I remember in 1984 when I joined the military in Kaduna, you could hardly see a Brigadier around. But what do we have now? We have too many Generals.

“We need to listen to our elders. General Ishola Williams, as far back as 2020, gave us this warning that we are having too many Generals and too little field troops. In the long run, it is the country that loses.”

 Experts weigh in

Shehu added that ex-military Generals worked for their pay and that service chiefs who are made to retire suddenly, often leave the military unprepared.

 He stated, “The issue is that when you continue doing this, people who leave, not really unprepared but you know what the military promises them, they are not going to attain it. So it is not a win-win situation for everybody. You lose vibrant young men, they leave unprepared and then you have a bloated military structure. And what does a bloated military do? It costs a lot of money.

“Let us be frank, there is no money you can pay somebody for his life. Whatever you pay a General after serving 35 or 30 years, he is worth it because they are in the bush and stay awake while others sleep.” 

A security expert, Kabiru Adamu, said the appointment of service chiefs was political as well as professional, adding that they should benefit from what their counterparts in other parts of the world were enjoying.

He said, “There are a lot of things that are wrong with our security structure at the moment. For example, the position and role of our service chiefs is somewhere in between political and professional, and this has put them in a very difficult situation that sometimes they have to dance to the dictum of politicians.

“As an example, when they are appointed, their tenure is not clearly stated. If they are professionals, their appointments should be based on certain professional codes. Why I am saying this is to indicate that because their role is not entirely professional; it also has a political undertone; they’re entitled to benefit from the largesse of any political administration.

“By that, I mean any benefits that political appointees will get, they should get. Is this the best way to run a government, especially where the cost of governance is one of the factors affecting our economy? No. It is not, but I don’t want us to isolate them. It is something that is general with civilian administrations and sadly over time, the problem has deepened. “

Brigadier General, Bashir Adewinibi (retd.), said, “I don’t know what the service chiefs are entitled to but we have terms and conditions in the armed forces and I believe that whatever they will be entitled to would have been stated there and it will be implemented to the letter. It is their entitlement and nothing can be done to it except it is not in the harmonised conditions of service. “

On his part, Colonel Saka Foluso (retd.), said, “I don’t think there is anything too much for Generals who have put their lives on the line for over 35 years. Political appointees, who have not done what the Generals have done, get more than that for say the eight years they have served. There is nothing given to them (military officers) that is too much.

“What they will be given has been stated already, which includes driver, car and what have you; they are not too much. They have made sacrifices for these. Do you know how many joined the service with them who are no more?  If you are complaining about the economy, let us block the leakages elsewhere. Curbing oil theft is one of the ways we can generate more money.”

A former military governor of the defunct Western Region, Maj. Gen. David Jemibewon (retd.), said the retirement benefits earmarked for the outgoing service chiefs and other military officers were well deserved.

He stated that it showed that the country was now paying better attention to the welfare of the “persons who have served it meritoriously and retired.”

Jemibewon said, “I don’t think there is anything wrong with the retirement packages for these men, who have served the country meritoriously and retired.

“This is evidence that the country is making positive progress towards the stabilisation of professions and recognition of efficient performance in one’s position.

“It will also, perhaps, promote higher and satisfactory performance among the serving chiefs in that they know that they will be highly rewarded for good service to the nation.

“It was not like that when I retired. This is why I said it was an improvement. The country is making a lot of progress. It was not as detailed as it is now. It is a welcome development.”

However, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Armourcop G. Security Systems Limited, Mr Timothy Avele, said he did not see how the purchase of bulletproof vehicles for the retired service chiefs would look to the common man who can barely feed at this time.

In a message to one of our correspondents, Avele said, “I don’t see the benefits of purchasing bulletproof vehicles for the retired Generals, especially now that even the common man cannot feed. I think the government just wants to appease them, otherwise, it is a drain on the economy.”

 ‘Don’t play politics with military’

Meanwhile, the immediate past CDS, General Lucky Irabor, has warned against playing politics with the military.

According to him, the military enjoys unity and bond not found in any other sector.

Irabor spoke at a reception organised by the Defence Headquarters after his pulling-out parade in Abuja on Friday.

“The friendship and unity that exists within the armed forces you cannot find it anywhere else and that is why you shouldn’t play politics with the military because from the 774 LGAs of this country, everyone is represented. There is no commander that goes to war with those he claims are his kinsmen,” he stated.

He said contrary to general belief, no military personnel takes any special injection to be tough but for the training and indoctrination, which come from the regimentation.

He said “The military is a family for those who may not know. It is a family. I have answered so many questions about being given an injection. What is that injection? There is no injection. The injection is training and discipline. They also said we operate like a cult; the process alone there is nothing wrong if I say we are in a cult, but it is a good cult.

“In the training establishment when I was a cadet, we spent three years, but two years later it became a five-year programme; when it was three years, the admission was every six months and when it became one year, the admission became every year.

“For you to finish a three-year program means that you will have five sets of your seniors and five sets of your juniors. The bonding that comes with it, you can’t find in any other place and that is why you think it is a cult.

“The values and traditions are transmitted from one generation to the other. When you get to the field, you see yourselves as brothers. I want to use this opportunity to appeal to our friends and the citizens, the investment in members of the armed forces is such that other sectors need to take a cue from.”

Irabor also urged his successor, Major General Christopher Musa, to follow up on some of the promises the President made for the military, adding that if they were fulfilled, it would be to the benefit of the country as well as the services.

At his pulling-out parade earlier on Friday, Irabor said he was leaving the military more capable to tackle adversaries than he met it.

He admitted that the task was not easy under his watch due to the large and diverse nature of the country.

He said, “National security for a large and diverse country like Nigeria is not an easy task, but it is also not an impossible one. In 2021, the security situation of the nation was admittedly in a state of dynamic plus. Efforts made by the Federal Government of Nigeria using the AFN in collaboration with the NPF, other security agencies and critical stakeholders were in different stages of gestation; we were encouraged to pursue these measures in addition to other initiatives to reinvigorate the national security architecture to deliver critical national security functions.

“I make bold to say that I’m leaving the armed forces of Nigeria today, bigger, stronger, and more capable to deliver on its constitutional mandate and national security functions.”

He said the military under his watch significantly curbed the threat of terrorism and piracy among others.

Irabor said, “In more specific terms, we significantly curtailed the threats of terrorism, insurgency, piracy, sea robberies, vandalism of critical national assets and kidnappings, and the military aid to civil authority role.

“We successfully work in conjunction with other security agencies and stakeholders to deliver a physical security environment that is amenable for law and order, critical democratic processes as well as human security and national development.”

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God Ordained Tinubu Presidency; Some Politicians Better Than Us – Shettima



Vice-President Kashim Shettima says God ordained Bola Tinubu’s emergence as president of Nigeria. Mr Shettima admitted that though he and his principal are the two most powerful men in the country, some individuals are better than them.

“We do not occupy our positions because of our physical prowess and certainly not because of our pedigree; there are people of superior pedigree than us,” stated Mr Shettima. “It is a gift from God and a call to serve humanity for a very short span of time.”

The vice-president reiterated Mr Tinubu’s commitment to improving Nigerians’ livelihood and the country’s fortunes.

“I always believe that power is a humbling experience. We spend more of our lives outside power than in power, and, most importantly, I see it as a gift from God,” Mr Shettima added. “Asiwaju and I are occupying the prime positions in this country, not because of our intellectual acumen or political sagacity but purely by the grace of God.”

Mr Shettima stated this when he hosted the University of Ibadan Postgraduate School alumni, according to a statement by his media, Stanley Nkwocha. The delegation also included members of the 1989/1990 set of the National Youth Service Corps with whom he served in Calabar.

“And the impact we make in the lives of our people will determine our positions here and in the hereafter. So, to me, it is a humbling experience; it is an opportunity to add value to a great nation like ours,” said the vice-president. “More so, Nigeria’s anticipated demographic bulge suggests we improve the quality of governance in the bid to mitigate any looming demographic disaster.”


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Army Busts Gun Factory In Kaduna, Arrests Syndicate



The Nigerian Army said it busted a gun manufacturing factory in Kaduna and arrested a suspected gunrunner, Napoleon John, following a sting operation to mop up illegal weapons.

This was contained in a statement released on Friday on the X (formerly Twitter) account of the force.

According to the statement, the discovery of the illegal gun manufacturing factory was successful after a week-long intelligence operation which led to the arrest of the suspect and recovery of 22 different weapons.

The statement read in part, “In line with the Commander Operation SAFE HAVEN and General Officer Commanding 3 Armoured Division, Major General Abdulsalam Abubakar’s resolve to deal decisively with sponsors and perpetrators of crime as well as mop up illegal weapons in OPSH Joint Operations Area, troops have uncovered a gun manufacturing factory in Kafanchan, Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

“The discovery followed a week-long intelligence operation that finally led to the capture of a wanted gunrunner, Napoleon John, who had been on the wanted list of OPSH. The suspect who confessed to the crime led troops to a concealed factory where arms of different calibres were sold by another miscreant identified as Monday Dunia, who confessed to having been in the business for more than five years fuelling the crisis in Kaduna and neighbouring Plateau State.
“A thorough search of the factory led to the recovery of 22 different weapons including seven pistols, two locally fabricated AK 47 rifles, two military grade AK 47 rifles and nine revolvers.

Others include one submachine gun, rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, machine tools and a gas cylinder. In a follow on operation from midnight of yesterday up till early hours of today, 22 September 2023, troops raided another hideout in Adua 1 village in Kafanchan and captured additional 2 x AK-47 Rifles, 2 x revolver rifles, live rounds of 9mm and 7.62 ammunition, 6x dangerous daggers, 1x hacker axe, several empty cases of 7.62mm special rounds, two mobile phones, one fragmental jacket, two police uniforms, one military camouflage trousers, one ammunition magazine carrier, one pistol holster, one military grade camel pouch, one police combat helmet, 2 masks, 4 identity cards, gunpowder, shrapnels, charms and amulets. Also recovered were machine tools and other equipment. The major kingpin(name withheld) is still on the run but would soon be apprehended.”

The statement also noted that the force troops have been directed to arrest all fleeing members of the syndicate who will be made to face the consequences of their actions.

He said, “I have built a world of my own in my head since I was little. Because growing up, I was a fat kid. I was chubby. So, I don’t go out because the kids in the area make fun of me. They called me orobo (someone who is fat). And they bullied me. So I always stay indoors.

“During that time that I always stayed indoors, I’d already built this fantasy world in my head. In the world that I have built in my head, I’m very comfortable in that space.

“So, I reintroduced myself to the world after I lost weight; I lost all forms of social skills. I don’t know how to communicate. I don’t know how to socialise with people.”


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FG May Pay N1.68tn Fuel Subsidy, Marketers Forecast N900/Litre



Fuel Subsidy

•Petrol price to rise again as naira nears N1,000, crude oil hits $95, IPMAN warns

•Operators commend government for subsidy proposal, CSOs oppose fresh subsidy

The Federal Government may spend about N1.68tn as subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, from September to December this year, an analysis of data provided by oil marketers and the sector has shown.

PMS dealers stated on Thursday that the pump price of petrol should be between N890 to N900/litre based on the fall of the naira against the United States dollar and the surge in the price of crude in the international market.

Petrol currently sells at between N598 and N617/litre depending on the location of purchase, fuelling suspicion that the commodity is being subsidised by the Federal Government.

The government and the NNPCL have not officially admitted that subsidy on petrol has been reintroduced. President Bola Tinubu had on May 29 announced ended the subsidy regime during his inaugural address.

The government subsidises PMS through the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited. NNPCL is the sole importer of PMS. Other marketers stopped PMS imports due to their inability to access foreign exchange.

The removal of subsidy led to an increase in the pump price of petrol from about N198/litre in May to the current rate of N617/litre. But the fall of the naira coupled with the rise in crude oil price have continued to mount pressure on the cost of PMS.

Dealers in the downstream oil sector explained that the cost of crude oil and the exchange rate of the naira-dollar accounted for over 80 per cent of the cost of PMS.

Brent crude, the global benchmark for oil, rose to about $95/barrel on Thursday. It had peaked to $97/barrel the preceding day, which was the highest figure in 2023.

Oil had started the year at about $82/barrel, dipped to $70/barrel in June, but traded above $94/barrel in the past week.

Also, The PUNCH reported on Thursday that the naira continued its downward trend after exchanging to the dollar at 980 on the parallel market on Wednesday.

A week earlier, the naira was exchanged to the dollar at 950/$.

However, on the FMDQ at the Investor & Exporter forex window, the naira appreciated slightly after closing at 770.71/$ on Wednesday from 776.76/$ on Tuesday.

The forex crisis and the recent rise in crude price, according to oil marketers, have made it impossible for petrol price to still remain at N617/litre. They insisted the government had quietly reintroduced fuel subsidy.

A media report on Thursday indicated the Federal Government paid N169.4bn subsidy in August, 2023.

Quoting a Federal Account Allocation Committee document, the report said the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas paid $275m as dividends to Nigeria via NNPCL.

NNPCL, according to the report, used $220m (N169.4bn at N770/$) out of the $275m to pay for the PMS subsidy in the review month.

“I told you earlier that there is no way that the government will sustain the price of petrol at N617/litre without paying subsidy on it, going by the continued fall of the naira,” the National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Chinedu Ukadike, told The PUNCH on Thursday.

He added, “The dollar is almost N990 at the parallel market currently, and you can see the effect of this on the pump price of diesel. Diesel is close to N1,000/litre, so the retail price of PMS should be around N890 to N900/litre.

“Therefore, it is better the government assists the masses by paying subsidy. From our records, in the United States, the super product or petrol is sold around $3.9, which is close to about N3,000/litre.

“The premium product is sold at about $2.89, which is over N2,000/litre. And if you check in other African countries you will find out that the product is being sold at between N1,200 and N1,500. But going by the forex rate in Nigeria, it should be around N900/litre.”

It was gathered that the subsidised ex-depot price of petrol as sold by NNPCL, was between N585 and N600 depending on area of purchase.

By subtracting the ex-depot cost of N600/litre from the projected unsubsidised rate of N890/litre, that the government may have been spending about N290/litre as subsidy currently.

In July, data from the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority showed that between June 1 to June 28, 2023, which was described as the post-deregulation period, the total petrol consumption across the country was 1.36 billion litres, while the average daily consumption was put at 48.43 million litres.

With an average daily consumption of 48.43 million litres and an estimated subsidy of N290/litre, the government could be incurring N14.04bn as subsidy daily, while this could rise to N421.3bn monthly.

This could rise to as high as N1.68tn for the months of September, October, November and December 2023, should the naira continues its fall against the dollar and crude price maintains its upward surge.

Subsidy consumes trillions

Before Tinubu announced the end of fuel subsidy in May, the scheme had consumed trillions of naira from the government’s purse.

In October 2022, The PUNCH reported that the government of former President Muhammadu Buhari had spent about N6.88tn in subsidising petrol at the time.

This was based on data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

NEITI report showed that fuel subsidies gulped N316.7bn in 2015; N99bn in 2016; N141.63bn in 2017; N722.3bn in 2018; N578.07bn in 2019; and N134bn in 2020.

Although the NEITI report did not state the amount spent in 2021 and 2022, figures obtained from NNPCL indicated that fuel subsidy jumped to N1.43tn in 2021.

NNPCL data also showed that petrol subsidy gulped N2.565tn between January and August last year. The oil company, however, described its subsidy spending as under-recovery.

The latest report on 169.4bn spent on subsidy in August indicates more billions of naira might be spent on the commodity from September to December 2023.


Commenting on the government’s decision to reportedly reintroduce fuel subsidy, the National Secretary, IPMAN, Chief John Kekeocha, said it was obvious the price of petrol was now higher than N617/litre.

He commended the government for considering the plights of its citizens, but stressed that the government should come out clean on subsidy.

“The government must come out clean on subsidy. We know it is not possible to be running full deregulation at the current price of petrol. However, it is commendable that they are considering the plights of the masses,” the IPMAN official stated.

Officials of the NNPCL and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority stayed mute on the subject when contacted.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of Satellite Depot, IPMAN, Akin Akinrinade, said a rise in the pump price of diesel, a deregulated product, should mean a corresponding rise in the pump price of petrol which was also recently deregulated with the official ending of the subsidy regime in June.

He said, “Ex-depot price of diesel is around N989 per litre while at the pump it is now selling at N1000 per litre. Ex-depot price of petrol at DAPPMAN depots is between N572-N575 per litre, while NNPCL depots sell at N556.5 per litre.

“But you know the price of petrol at the pump has remained the same for a while now despite the increase in crude oil price at the international market. I think the government is doing everything it can to keep petrol prices the same due to the political nature of the product.”

He added, “However, there could be other means by which the government is subsidising it. For instance; local levies such as NIMASA, NPA and other levies are currently being paid in naira, no longer in dollars. So, if the government is working on that; it can also reflect on the prices of petrol by bringing it down. And as you know, no marketer brings in petrol due to the high price of forex. They claim they don’t have access to dollars at the CBN rate. So, it’s only NNPC that is bringing in products.”

An unconfirmed source told The PUNCH “subsidies is back.”

He said, “You know President Tinubu in his inaugural speech said the government would intervene if need be. So that is exactly what is happening. Because if not for that; going by what is happening now, using CBN’s official rate, petrol should be selling for N625 per litre in Lagos and higher prices going up north. But what we have at the pump is still around N580 per litre. But if you use black market rate, petrol should be around N800 per litre in Lagos. But we should be careful not to set the country on fire since we know the government is currently discussing with Labour,” the source said, asking not to be quoted.

Brent international price had reached $95 a barrel in the week, with Nigeria’s sweet crude also selling at around N100 per barrel.

“Any kindergarten would know that the government has returned to paying subsidies. I think we should be asking the NNPC to tell us the magic they are performing to keep prices the same for a while now,” a top source among the oil marketers told The PUNCH on Thursday.

The President, IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, said there was no need for speculation on the return of subsidies.

“The good thing is that NNPC is still importing and we are their major customers, so why should we be disturbing ourselves? Speculating will only throw the country into chaos. We believe the NNPC knows what to do, and they are doing exactly that. The Federal Government has assured us that the refineries will start working by December, and we know the NNPC has enough stock to last us till then, and even beyond,” he said.

According to a report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, subsidies had cost the country about N1.99tn from 2015 to 2020.

Also reports by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited to the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee showed that petrol subsidy cost N1.57tn in 2021, and N1.27tn from January to May 2022.

The sum of N3tn was also budgeted for subsidy from June 2022 to June 2023.

CSOs react

The Chairman, Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran, said it would be difficult for the government to maintain a balance in petroleum price in the hands of private sector individuals.

Adeniran noted, “It is practically impossible for the government to maintain a steady balance in the price of petroleum products in the hands of business men and women that are running the cartel. They will always find a way of making things difficult for Nigerians and force the hands of the government backward towards ensuring that there is one form of subsidy or the other because without the subsidy, they are not used to doing honest business. They will find a way of embarrassing the government by ensuring that there is no adequate supply of petroleum products or making their cartel increase the cost of petroleum products.

“The new government that is just consolidating its stay in power want to avoid the embarrassment and by so doing, it will look backwards and succumb to the blackmail of the oil cartel. Those who are also speculating on forex, they have ensured that the exchange rate is stepped higher. Once the foreign exchange is on the high side, there is a ready excuse for the oil marketers to increase the price so that government can pay them extra at the expense of Nigerians.”

Speaking with our correspondent, the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Auwal Rafsanjani slammed the FG for lack of transparency and accountability to public trust.

Rafsanjani, said “We cannot over-emphasise the instrumentality of transparency and accountability to public trust and confidence as key drivers of good governance.

“We as citizens must continue to call out the government on the opacity around petroleum sector governance and how it has continued to impoverish Nigerians.”

He said citizens would continue to suffer the effect of the removal or reintroduction of petrol subsidies, until the government embraces sincerity both in its intentions and actions.

The Executive Director explained further, “The lies and misinformation are endless. The NNPCL seems to continuously overstep its boundaries and disseminate half-truths. Where does the NNPC derive the authority to make arbitrary deductions for subsidy payments that have been declared removed by the President?

“This is a recurrence of the 2020 House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts probe into the questionable withdrawals of over $21bn from the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) dividends account by the NNPC.

“No official statements have been made as to whether subsidies are back, but in principle and practice, we are back in a subsidy regime, if you consider that international crude prices has crossed $95 a barrel and the exchange rate is now N920 per dollar. The government needs to be clear and decisive in its actions. But these actions must be informed by policies and plans that are technically sound, publicly acceptable and administratively feasible.”

He advised that “We must build a democracy centered on public trust and accountability.”


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