By Matthew Denis and Ahmed Suleiman
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Petroleum Ministry to ensure the current fuel scarcity in some parts of the country do not last beyond weekend.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this to State House correspondents at the end of FEC meeting in Abuja.
Stressing that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, could not attend the post- FEC briefing because of an urgent appointment, he said the minister gave FEC assurance that there was no cause for alarm.
According to him, Kachikwu told FEC that there is enough fuel in the country to last till January 2018.
Meanwhile, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has warned marketers in Kwara State against hoarding of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol.
The agency equally debunked reports of impending fuel scarcity stressing that the products is available in bulk to Kwara motorists.
When our reporters went round Ilorin, the state capital, most filling stations were under lock. At Gerin Alimi, Airport/Egbejila area, only Sawabo petrol station was noticed dispensing the product around 6pm. Also at Asa Dam, the NNPC mega station and Fossil petroleum station were seen selling PMS to customers.
A long queue was however sighted at Bovas filling station, Offa Garage as most filling stations in the area were shut.
Speaking on the development, the Operations Controller of DPR in the state, Salvation Phillip assured Kwarans not to panic as the product is available for motorists in bulk.
“As far as DPR in Kwara State is concerned, we are mandated to follow the supply of fuel and make sure it is dispensed to the public. So, there is no need for panic buying. If it is one litre that enters Kwara through the depot, the DPR will ensure it reaches the designation and ends up in the tank belonging to the public,” he stated.
Philip however called on marketers to avoid sharp practices such as hoarding and under dispensing as the law will take its course on violators.
Recall that the General Secretary of Kwara IPMAN, Olupelu Testing in an interview with this medium said, “we are not threatening strike as widely reported. The alarm we are raising is that NNPC through its agency, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), the sole importer of petroleum products are distributing it to their various facilities where IPMAN are supposed to buy from. For sometimes now we observed that PPMC are bringing in products but giving it to private depots in Lagos.
“We go to Lagos to buy from them but in the last two weeks these private depots have increased their ex depot price to as much as N142 as at today instead of the N133.28k which is the official ex depot price stipulated by the Federal Government.
“We are supposed to sell between N143 to N145 per litre and all along most of our members have been buying at N133 per litre before now. But if we are now buying the product in Lagos at N142 per litre and you are now haulage it to Ilorin and pay other overhead expenses and even the trucks loading the fuel there is no way you can sell at N145 per litre.”
He added that the Federal Government has abandoned the loading of products at Ilorin for over three years leaving marketers the worse hit.
He said, “they are complaining of pipeline vandalism but it is their property and we expect them to introduce best measures of policing it. You don’t expect us to police it for them.”
Testing further stated that the two trucks of fuel allocated per day to Ilorin depot from Ibadan depot is grossly inadequate.
He called on the government regulatory agencies like the DPR to quickly intervene in resolving the issue seamlessly.