Nigerian minister in sack threat

February 5, 2010 12:00 am

, LAGOS, Feb 5 – Nigeria\’s oil minister threatened to sack officials in his ministry if they failed to end an acute fuel shortage in a week.

"If they cannot perform, then we will deal with them. We will bring in people who will do the job," Rilwanu Lukman said, expressing disappointment over the performance of officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), an agency of his ministry.

"It is important that the operatives within the NNPC who are responsible for ensuring the supply of fuel to the country sit up and do their job," Lukman said in an interview on state-run NTA television.

NTA reported that the minister gave the NNPC officials seven days to end the fuel crisis in Nigeria, the world\’s eight oil exporter.

Most cities in Nigeria, including Lagos and the capital Abuja, have been experiencing acute fuel scarcity for more than three months.

"It is a very difficult situation. The fuel shortage problem has occurred over and over again and and everybody is fed up, and is tired of the stories that have been told and explanations that have been given," the minister said.

Officials have attributed the fuel scarcity to the suspension of fuel imports by private companies late last year, the poor performance of the nation\’s four refineries, the sabotage of oil pipelines by militants and hoarding by marketers.

But analysts observe that official corruption and mismanagement in the industry were behind the scarcity.

The NNPC manages the nation\’s oil industry.


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