BY Olayinka Latona
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has called on Federal Government to take urgent steps to address the problem of oil theft in the country, just as he urged Nigerians to back government on oil subsidy removal.
He spoke during the 14th annual lecture of the Catholic Young Men Association of St, Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland, Lagos.
Oshiomhole, who was represented by the Commissioner for Special Duties, Oil and Gas, Mr. Orobosa Omo-Ojo, lamented that the biggest challenge facing the country today was not oil subsidy but oil theft.
In a paper entitled Nigeria: The Politics of Oil Subsidy and the Socio-Economic implications, Oshiomhole said oil subsidy removal will not be a curse but a major blessing if well utilised by the Federal Government.
He advised Federal Government to subsidise manufacturing and production sectors of the country, instead of the oil sector.
Urging churches and other religious bodies not to shy away from their responsibilities by participating in politics, he said that oil subsidy encourage smuggling, criminality and fraud in the nation‚Äôs oil sector.
Oshiomhole said: ‚ÄúIt is much better that oil subsidy is removed because it only allows some Nigerians to sabotage the oil sector, while the less-privileged in the society suffer.
‚ÄúIt will help to address huge scam in the oil sector and also help fight corruption to an extent. The rate at which some people are exploiting our God-given gift is enormous, hence the need to remove this oil subsidy.
‚ÄúThere should be sincere and cogent plan by Federal Government to reinvest the money saved from subsidy if it is eventually removed totally, like the way we did with diesel.
‚ÄúFederal Government should design plans, especially for the less-privileged, who are mainly affected. There should be stable power supply in the country as it will go a long way to cushion the effect of oil subsidy removal.‚Äù