With just less than three days to the end of his tenure, the Governor of Niger State, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, has said that Nigerians were deceived that there was a special fund for SURE-P by the government.
Aliyu said the money deployed for SURE-P was from the normal allocation from the federal allocation to states.
He also said that fuel subsidy was the main form of corruption in the country, adding that the total removal of subsidy from petroleum products by the Federal Government is the only solution.
The outgoing governor made this disclosure in Minna at the inauguration of a N620 million three-star hotel constructed jointly by the Niger State Development Company Limited and the state’s SURE-P
“Earlier, we deceived ourselves that there was SURE-P money. But it was the money from our federation account that they were giving us as SURE-P fund. But we are happy, at least they have set that aside.
“For me, you will remember when I said remove fuel subsidy they burnt my town. People were imported from outside to burn Minna. I have been vindicated.
“Some years back I took a principled position as one of the few governors who said remove fuel subsidy. It is a cartel for corruption. Many people did not understand that time. Some publicist didn’t agree with me.
“They said don’t remove it, it is the common man that will suffer. But I said which common man, when already the time you are talking about subsidy, the common man goes to buy it triple the price that you call subsidy,” Governor Aliyu said.
Governor Aliyu told the people that “There is no government out there. You are the government. Anything that is done is for your welfare.
“Own it, take it and don’t allow somebody to come and reduce you and make you a pauper and then he will go back to his village and start sinking things.
“Own what is yours. Government is not all about the officials alone. Therefore, I ask: subsidy for whom?
“In the whole of Niger State at that time, even the government’s fuel stations were not selling at the subsidised rate.
“Yes, they were selling lower than the commercial filling station, but they are also above the subsidy. Why were we having the problems?
“It is because those who have been enjoying the subsidy have seen the sign that it may be removed and they are afraid.
“Subsidy is a cartel for corruption. People must know how their resources are being expended. But I kept crying that we could not rely on the oil revenue.
“Now the truth has come in our own time. I thought we will leave the scene before the crash, but the crash has come.
“The removal of fuel subsidy will also ensure the activities of ‘mafias’ in the oil business are stopped while also guaranteeing regular supply of the product in all parts of the country.
“The only solution to the frequent fuel crises facing the country is the total removal of subsidy from petroleum products by the Federal Government.”
Aliyu disclosed it was believed by many that it is only the common man it will affect, but those who are enjoying subsidy are now afraid that the fuel subsidy maybe removed.
He argued that the subsidy on petroleum product is currently being enjoyed by only a section of the society who have the necessary connections to be importers of the commodity.
Aliyu asked: “Is it not an irony that we sell crude oil and we end up buying refined petroleum from the international market.”
Speaking on epileptic power supply, Governor Aliyu said it was also ironical that states that had the resources to construct power plants are being asked to plough the energy generated to the national grid from where they eventually get less than the mega watts they have generated to be shared in their state.
He added that lack of electricity in all parts of the country has affected the economic and social lives of the people, adding: “We must begin to consider regionalizing the energy sector to encourage the growth of the economy.”
Earlier, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure Development in Niger State, Alhaji Mohammed Muazu Bawa, said the construction of the hotel was co-financed by SURE-P and the Niger State Development Company at the initial cost of N423 million, with SURE-P contributing N323 million and NSDC N100 million respectively.
The project attracted an additional N197 million, which brought the total cost to N620 million.
The Director General of the state’s SURE-P board, Alhaji Hassan Nuhu, in his address said the 50-bed three star hotel was constructed at over N620 million and had been given to a private firm to manage for five years.