Fuel Scarcity Subjecting Nigerians To Torture, Find Permanent Solution Now – Serap Tasks Buhari
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP has charged President Muhammadu Buhari to find a permanent solution to the protracted scarcity of fuel in the country, which according to it, amounts to a violation of the United Nations, UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by the Nigerian government.
In a statement issued on Monday by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the group lamented that the biting fuel shortage had not only deprived Nigerians of unquantifiable economic opportunities, but had also subjected them to unwarranted torture, cruel and degrading experiences.
While acknowledging that long fuel queues predated the Buhari government, SERAP stressed that what Nigeria needed is a permanent solution and not “the quick fix and the short-termism that characterised the policies of successive governments.”
The statement reads, “Despite the country's commitment under the UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Nigeria ratified the Covenant in October 1993), successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999 have failed to ensure availability of fuel nationally, thereby rendering already impoverished citizens incapable of satisfying their minimum needs for survival.”
“The current development has perpetrated a string of misfortunes for the citizens: poor living conditions, ill-health, marginalisation, and an inability to enter into the life of society and assume responsibilities.
“This situation is entirely inconsistent and incompatible with Nigeria's human rights commitments, and cannot be justified given that Nigeria is among leading producers of oil in the world.
“Indeed, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights itself has recognised poverty as a violation of the obligations assumed by states parties under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to which Nigeria is a party.
“The President must now urgently address the continuing problem of fuel scarcity and to ensure full and unhindered supply of fuel throughout the country by sorting out the refineries and addressing the systemic corruption in the sector. This is the time for President Buhari to address accountability issues around the fuel subsidy fraud.”
Stressing that the present situation does not align with the letter and spirit of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and constitutes a serious violation of the Covenant's provisions, SERAP challenged Buhari to send a strong message that his government will not tolerate a situation which permitted a few to enrich themselves at the expense of the masses who are subjected to growing poverty.