•‘Why situation persists’
“The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and other relevant government agencies should go out to enforce sale of fuel at filling stations that are hoarding the product. Virtually all stations have petrol but they are not ready to sell so as to exploit the people.”
With these words on Thursday, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) offered solution to the lingering scarcity in the country.
The union which denied being responsible for scarcity claimed the situation started two weeks before it issued a seven-day strike ultimatum on December 7, on the grounds of unfair labour practices by some oil and gas firms.
In a statement, the union’s media officer, Babatunde Oke, said Nigerians should not blame the oil workers for the scarcity as the strike notice only lasted for 14 hours before it was suspended.
“The real reasons are not being examined, the scarcity is being blamed on wrong reasons. There is scarcity because marketers want petrol price to be increased. They have been arguing that the margin is not profitable and therefore seek increment which the government has been resisting and pegging at N145 per litre.”
He also blamed the scarcity on the rivalry among Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Depots and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) over fuel allocation.
According to PENGASSAN, leadership of IPMAN is also responsible for the scarcity through hoarding of fuel by stations owners. Meanwhile, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has approved the constitution of a task force on the control and sale of petrol in Kwara State.
The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Isiaka Gold, who made this known in a statement in Ilorin, said the fuel crisis had assumed a disturbing dimension as only a few filling stations now sell the product.
According to the statement, the task force is to, among other functions, identify all bottlenecks to free supply of petrol and other petroleum products and find immediate solutions to them. It will also detect all petrol stations, marketers and their agents who are responsible for the poor distribution of the product and bring them to book, while ensuring that hoarded petrol is dispensed to the public.
The taskforce will liaise with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) depot at Oke-Oyi, on the outskirts of Ilorin for joint patrol towards tackling hoarding of the product.