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Marketers allege cabal has hijacked fuel supply in Rivers

Channels Television  
Updated March 4, 2012

Oil marketers in Port-Harcourt have alleged that a cabal has hijacked the fuel supply at the depot belonging to the Petroleum Products Marketing Company PPMC in Okirika, Rivers state.”

This allegation was made by the hundreds of marketers that greeted Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream which was on inspection tour of the PPMC depot and the Port Harcourt refinery.

The cabal allegation was buttressed by the fuel queues observed in the Port-Harcourt, the Rivers state capital which hosts one of the nation’s refineries.

The oil marketers assembled outside the premises of the depot, made their grievances known in the peaceful protest as one of them claimed that “I have ticket in the system I paid in since last year October and till date, that product has not been loaded.”

The committee members led by Senator Magnus  Abe, expressed disappointment with operations at the PPMC depot, and the workings of the pipeline supplying crude to the refinery.

Another visit to the Okirika jetty was full of shame for the lawmakers who learnt that for the past five years, oil products have not been offloaded through the pipelines because of vandalization.

The old jetty has not been maintained since it was built many years ago after it was razed by fire some time ago and it still bears tell-tale marks of the incident and of utter neglect.

At the Port Harcourt refinery, the committee bared their minds on their findings as the leader of the delegation and chairman of the committee, Senator Abe decried that the depot only loads 120 trucks of petrol per day. “It means that you (the Port Harcourt Refinery) are accepting that there should be no product and the end result is that, independent marketers will move out this region and go to wherever they can buy at any price and there they will sell at any price.”

The Managing director of the Port-Harcourt Refinery noted that some of the supposed marketers have no filling stations.

“Whether they have a facility to run or no, they just want to register because they feel once they register, it gives them an in road to lift the product and do whatever they want with it.”

The lawmakers reminded management of the refinery and PPMC of the accusation and directed the management of the refinery to extend the loading time of crude supply to tanker drivers to 9 PM daily.

They also directed the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to prosecute marketers who hoard fuel and sell above the stipulated price.