President Muhammadu Buhari led the opposition party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), in vehement opposition to the withdrawal of petrol subsidies before he won the 2015 presidential election.
Now, President Buhari is leaving Nigeria with the greatest amount ever spent on fuel subsidies after eight years in office and just days remaining of his two terms in office.
The cost of the petrol subsidy from 2015 to 2020 was N1.99 trillion, according to oil and gas industry estimates produced by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
Additionally, records provided to the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) revealed that the cost of petrol subsidies was N1.27 trillion from January to May 2022 and N1.57 trillion in 2021 alone. For the period of June 2022 to June 2023, the government has set aside N3 trillion in its budget to pay for fuel subsidies.
The total figure revealed that the government would have spent N7.83 trillion on fuel subsidies under President Buhari.
While Nigeria’s four refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna were not operating at full capacity in 2015, they still produced six million litres of petrol per day for domestic use.
President Buhari promised Nigerians through the then-Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, that the refineries would resume operating at full capacity by the end of the year. It never took place.
The refineries were temporarily shut down for maintenance in 2017, but after two years with little progress, they were totally grounded in 2019.
The refineries are still being repaired and are being mismanaged severely when the president departs in roughly three weeks.
With funds from the African Development Bank, NNPC stated in 2021 that it will spend $1.5 billion to entirely renovate the Port Harcourt refinery.
Refineries in Kaduna and Warri are going through a similar process.