Gombe — Divesting government shares, ownership and control of the four refineries to the private sector will be a disaster and a great disservice to the nation.
A banker and administrator, Ambassador Ibrahim Yarima Abdullahi, who stated this in an interview with Daily Trust in Gombe, said he made the assertion because of the bad experience in respect of the banking industry.
A onetime Executive Director of Afribank PLC as well as Chairman of the defunct Inland Bank Nigeria PLC was reacting to some analysts in the oil and gas industry who advised the federal government to divest 75 percent of its 100 percent super majority shareholding in the country's four refineries.
According to him, some years back it was the same private investors that took over the banks and grounded them.
"Some years back these so called investors hoodwinked the then government and sold its shareholdings from the bank to them. Now after so many years, the banks are no longer lending to any weak person, they only lend to the owners of their respective banks nowadays.
"As such the country will lose more because of what we have seen from the banking system. Rather the investors should start their own refineries, but it is anti-society to take the investment of the public into the private hands which will clearly suffer the same faith that the banking industry has suffered.
Abdullahi who was a Nigeria's Ambassador to Malaysia and Brunei, advised the government to instead encourage the private investors interested to come together and establish their own refineries.
He called on the government not to allow the refineries to suffer the same faith that the banking system suffered when it was handed over to the private sector.