By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
The Federal Government has approved a contract for the construction of the Oloibiri Oil Museum and Research Center is the first oil well discovered in the country in 1957.
This project in on the drawing board for so long a the first time a foundation stone was laid for this project was in the early 80s by President Shehu Shagari.
Briefing State House Correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipreye Sylva announced this on Wednesday in Abuja.
Chief Sylva said the contract was awarded to Messrs Julius Berger PLC, at the sum of N117 billion, with a completion timeframe of 30 months (2 and a half years).
According to the minister, this is a major milestone and it is expected to be a major legacy of Mr. President in the Niger Delta.
Asked about the decision the government has taken to ensure the petroleum scarcity will not have an impact on the general elections, he said, it’s quite unfortunate, they were not happy at all about what is going on but assured that “every hand is on the deck.”
“The Ministry of Petroleum is not in control of all the factors that lead to scarcity in the sense that there are Forex issues as well as other issues.
“But at the moment today, there is supply, but unfortunately, we are experiencing some bottlenecks with the distribution and movement of the product to various destinations for now.
“I want to assure you that everything is being done; the NNPC Limited, NMDPRA (Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority), the marketers, everybody’s hands are on deck to ensure that this problem is resolved and to also inform you today we had a briefing from INEC and INEC has also engaged NNPC and NNPC have assured INEC that petroleum products supply to INEC will not be a problem and so that will not likely affect the election at all,” the minister explained.
Fielding questions on the step taken to alleviate the hardship brought by fuel scarcity, Sylva said the ministry has reports of profiteering by marketers, and he has directed NMDPRA to sanction anybody who profiteers in this kind of situation.
“We cannot stand by and watch our citizens being exploited by marketers. But of course, I’m given that directive and I don’t know if it has not taken effect; I don’t know the details of how far that directive has been carried out, but I’m going to still further give that directive, if that is still the situation, but definitely, we are not paying a blind eye at all,” he said.
The minister said that the ministry adheres to the laws of the land and will act accordingly; adding, “You know how these things happen, there are laws and this is a democratic system, they can’t go against the law themselves, the regulators can’t also go against the law.”
Chief Sylva explained that it was only through the processes provided for by law that the regulations can be carried out, saying “I will direct an NMDPRA further to ensure that nobody profiteers on the citizens of Nigeria.”