Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nassarawa State says the government of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari spent more than the $19 billion used in building the Dangote Refinery on maintenance of the country’s refineries.
Nigeria has refineries in Kaduna, Port Harcourt, and Warri but none is operational with experts saying the recent launch of the Dangote Refinery would be a game-changer in the sector.
“Look at how much the President Buhari administration spent on fixing the refineries. In the eight years, he spent more money than the $19 billion that Dangote spent in building a refinery.
“That is one and a half times the size of our three refineries combined,” Sule said during Channels Television Sunrise Daily on Thursday.
He pinned the payments of subsidy on Nigeria’s non-functional refineries.
“From the government side, I think we didn’t do a good job. When the (former) President (Buhari) came in in 2015, prices of crude oil dropped by less than 30 dollars. At that time, there was zero subsidy.
“Our three refineries in Nigeria today have a total of 450,000 barrels per day, Dangote is 650,000. He spent $19 billion on building it. We spent, not building a new one, but in maintaining these refineries; more than $19 billion in eight years, yet they have not been maintained,” he said.
The Dangote Refinery which is Africa’s biggest oil refinery launched its building plans in 2017. But the project was commissioned in May 2023, a few days before the end of Buhari’s administration.
‘Maintaining Refinery Components’
Governor Sule also lamented the complexity of maintaining the refineries due to their diverse components.
“The refinery is actually a component for water, crude, and diesel, about five or six different components that constitute a refinery.
“The moment the government says we are going to spend $2 billion this year on the refinery. The $2 billion is spent and as far as the President is concerned, they have given $2 billion.
“Now when it goes to the three refineries that we have in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna. Then they say, you now take $700 million, you now take $800 million – by the time they take that, it goes to fix maybe only one component out of the four components that are all bad,” Sule noted.
The Governor suggested that the ideal resolve would have been to allocate the major funds to one of the refining states to fix it totally before allocating the remainder to the other states.
“So, zero work is done. These are the true realities of what is happening, and that is why none of the refineries is working. These are truly the problem, we have not really managed this thing well,” he said.