Governor Abdullahi A. Sule of Nasarawa State has said the Muhammadu Buhari administration spent more than $19 billion to maintain Nigeria’s refineries with none of them functioning.
He said the same amount was used to build Africa’s largest refinery, the Dangote Refinery. The refineries were those of Kaduna, Port Harcourt, and Warri.
The governor, who disclosed this Thursday when he was featured at the Channels Television Sunrise Daily, said the payments of subsidy was occasioned by the country’s non-functional refineries.
Sule’s disclosure was coming days after the House of Representatives revealed over N11 trillion was expended on the moribund refineries in the last three years.
According to the governor, who was a former staff of Dangote Group, said, “Look at how much the President Buhari administration spent on fixing the refineries. In the eight years, he spent more than the $19 billion that Dangote spent in building a refinery, that is one and half times the size of our three refineries combined.”
He admitted that there was a poor handling of the situation by the government, adding that “From the government’s 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.” Dangote Refinery, Africa’s biggest oil refinery, launched its building plans in 2017 and the project was commissioned in May 2023 in the twilight of the Buhari-led government.
Governor Sule said there was complexity in maintaining the refineries due to their diverse components.
He said: “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 said the ideal thing to do 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 problems, we have not really managed this thing well,” the governor further said.