Kachikwu, at Senate, pledges to end fuel queues in April
• Apologises for crisis,remarks • Rejects resignation calls
Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday apologised to Nigerians for the pains being inflicted on them by the persistent fuel scarcity in the country.
He lamented that his statement about not being a magician was exaggerated, adding that it was not meant to downplay the seriousness of the problem at hand.
The minister also rejected calls from certain quarters asking for his resignation over the crisis, just as he announced that fuel queues would disappear within the first two weeks of April.
Kachikwu, who yesterday appeared before the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Down Stream) to explain the causes of the fuel crisis, however, told the lawmakers that he could not change his style and begin to talk like politicians, insisting that he remained a competent technocrat.
Addressing the panel, the minister said: “I share the pains of Nigerians, I feel that pain everyday when I walk the streets. On Easter day, I was in Lagos monitoring fuel distribution and the depots. I have given 24 hours attention to the problems.
“I have continued to work with one sole purpose which is that every problem must have a solution and I think that is the reason I was picked.
“I do apologise for the comment that I made jocularly with my friends in the press about being a magician and it offended some Nigerians. It was not meant to be serious; it was a side jocular issue.
“I did go on to explain what needed to be done, I did not know that it would create the kind of hyperbole (exaggeration) that it did.”
Kachikwu added: “Let me first admit that I am not a typically experienced politician, I am a technocrat: I come to work.
“Some of the phraseologies that I may use, while being acceptable in the arena in which I play obviously will not be acceptable in the public political arena.
“So if any body’s sensibilities were offended by those, I totally apologise.”
The minister made it clear that it was too difficult for him to voice what had been rehearsed for him before the committee.