The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, says the ongoing fuel scarcity in the country is man-made and that those responsible must pay the price for visiting needless hardship on Nigerians.
He made the statement on Tuesday while welcoming his colleagues back to the plenary from their three weeks break.
“I am not unmindful of the sobering fact that the new year has met many citizens in a reflective mood. Many were on the queue for petrol; many households are grief-stricken.
“This mood of reflection is also one from which no lawmaker is immune; what affects one, affects all. When one part of the body is hurting, the whole body hurts, and this holds true for the entire nation.
“We have all been witnesses to the hardships with which many Nigerians saw in the new year, stuck on fuel queues tailing from petrol stations in many of our cities.
“My own estimation of the fuel scarcity phenomenon is that it is man-made. We thought we had left the problem of fuel queues firmly in the past in this country, but sadly, that appears not to be the case,” he said.
Mr. Saraki explained that members of the Senate Investigative Panel on Fuel Scarcity had to cut short their recess and had commenced hearing on the crisis. He commended the members for their prompt response and the work carried out.
“We seek the cooperation and understanding of Nigerians as we try to get to the bottom of this issue. In any event, there is a problem, and it must be solved. We await the findings of the Investigative Panel on Fuel Scarcity, firm in our resolve that whoever is responsible must pay the price for visiting this needless hardship upon our people”, he added.
While speaking on the killings that took place in Benue, Kaduna, Rivers, and Taraba states, he pledged that the Senate would help find solutions to curb the menace as well as bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We condemn these killings in the strongest terms, and we declare that mindless bloodletting has no place in our society. I offer our sincerest condolences to the people of Benue, and indeed to all who have suffered the loss of their loved ones as a result of these wanton acts.
“When we fail in our duty to protect Nigerian lives, it is a tragedy and an indictment on us all. We as the 8th Senate stand ready to help find solutions to assuage the hurt to affected parts, to bring the perpetrators to justice and to enthrone peace in all four corners of this country,” he said.
Remarking that the 8th Senate has passed 140 bills over a period of 30 months, he urged the lawmakers not be caught in the political fray as the 2019 electioneering period approaches.
“As you all know, this, in all probability, will be the last productive year before we go into the 2019 electioneering period. Not only is there a need to up the ante in terms of productivity, it is important we keep our eyes on the big picture. Let us not be caught in the political fray before due season.
“To each and every thing under the sun, its own time. This is Nigeria’s time. Let us devote ourselves to her service. It is therefore imperative that we speed up consideration on the various bills on which legislative work remains outstanding – particularly economic bills. Calling for similar attention are the other parts of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) related bills still to be passed, namely: the Petroleum Industry Fiscal Bill and the Petroleum Host Community Bill.
“This is my appeal: it is too early for 2019 politicking to override the legislative agenda and the larger work of governance. We have begun a good thing with the economic core of our agenda; let us see it to its proper conclusion.
‘It would be most insensitive to the needs of the people of this country if we were to do otherwise. I am directing this appeal not only to us in the chamber but to the National Assembly as a whole, as well as to the Executive and indeed all political actors.
The Senate President pledged that the 8th Senate will continue to demonstrate similar dedication to their duties this year, as worthy representatives of the people who voted them into office.