The Lagos gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Jimi Agbaje has said that the state’s local governments need to get working again.
Jimi Agbaje made this statement while responding to a question at The Platform’s Lagos Governorship Debate.
Agbaje in a reaction to questions about gridlocks in Lagos said that the key is to “get the local governments working again” adding that the grassroots play a great roll in making state function optimally.
The PDP gubernatorial candidate said that planning ahead is crucial if Lagos must overcome its problem with traffic jam.
About 30,000 metric tonnes of cocoa have been trapped at the Apapa gridlock on its way to the Apapa port, according to exporters.
The Cocoa Exporters Association of Nigeria on Monday said that 1,760 tons of Cocoa butter and cake are held up in the traffic which has been a source of concern to motorists, residents as well as importers and exporters.
Traders said, as a result of the development, farm-gate cocoa prices have dropped, while purchases have slowed.
Nigeria is currently ranked fifth alongside Cameroon, among the world’s biggest cocoa producers, with the international cocoa organisation estimating its 2017 to 2018 output at 240,000 metric tonnes.
The Apapa is one of Africa’s biggest port city but the current road repairs hinder access to ships for export.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, has asked the Federal Government to do everything within its powers to revive existing Ports in other States of the federation.
He said that this will solve the existing traffic congestion at the Apapa axis of the State.
The governor stated this on Tuesday during a town hall meeting in Ibeju Lekki Local Government.
He said the recent chaos witnessed in the area was beyond traffic issues, saying that concerted efforts must be made to revamp moribund ports.
According to him, it is beyond getting other ports up and running, the issue of tankers queuing up to lift petroleum products from Tank Farms in Apapa was also a major issue causing gridlock and damaging road infrastructure in the area, which was affecting the economic growth of not just the State, but Nigeria in general.
“It would be very unfair to Lagosians if I don’t talk about issues relating to traffic management and integrated transport management most especially what we have witnessed in the last one week in Apapa, but again I would like to tell Lagosians that every stakeholder that is relevant to resolving the Apapa crisis, we have gone to work and you can see that there is a major improvement.
“But again, this issue has become perennial and in the last six years, it’s always been there, it comes and goes, but the challenge is to be able to find a permanent solution and in that reason Mr. President had directed the Vice President to come and see what the situation is and to actually give us a permanent solution.
“We are grateful Mr. President, we believe strongly that every layer of government should collaborate to be able to resolve this Apapa crisis.
“But we all must know that Apapa crisis is more than traffic issues. That is where all States depend on for revenue through Customs because the revenue is shared at FAAC.
“If anything goes wrong in the Port, whatever they get from Federal Allocation Account Committee (FAAC) could reduce,” Governor Ambode said.
He said the Apapa congestion was a national issue that required urgent attention, the Governor also noted that oil pipelines should be revived to discourage the trend of thousands of trucks coming from other parts of the country to lift petroleum products from Apapa.
“It is bad that we still use trucks to lift petroleum products from Apapa to other parts of the country.
“As it is now, other ports in Nigeria must begin to work immediately to decongest gridlock in Lagos. Whatever has led to the continual use of trucks to lift fuel, which is, vandalism of pipeline should be addressed immediately.
“We believe that this will allow the roads to become free. We don’t need to continuously use taxpayers’ money to build the road that was destroyed by tankers. We call on the Minister of Petroleum and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to work towards reviving the pipelines,” he said.
The Governor also expressed concern about the approval for the development of tank farms in Ijegun area of Lagos, saying that as much as the State supports redistribution of tank farms, such should be located in areas that are not populated.
“We don’t need tank farms within Lagos metropolis anymore. There are 68 tank farms in Apapa alone. That is a serious danger waiting to happen. Beyond Apapa, they have approved tank farms in Ijegun axis and that is where we have a huge population.
“We need to redistribute tank farm establishment to outer borders and other parts. This is what we believe should be done at this moment to free Lagos roads,” he said.
Speaking on the efforts of his administration to develop the economy of the State, Governor Ambode said his administration has continued to keep faith with its mandate to ensure that the future of Lagos remains on a sound pedestal.
He said the Town Hall meeting, which had moved round the three senatorial districts in the State from its first edition held on October 6, 2015, has continued to provide the Government with first-hand information on the needs of the people and how best to solve them.
“Our promise from the very beginning was that we are going to give you a government of inclusion and it’s very clear that we are on track. When we look at our scorecard, which is to keep Lagos on a trajectory of growth and development, we are on that track.
“We are happy to be here. We are everywhere meeting the needs of our people, asking them what the issues are and wanting to respond positively to those issues. Yes, we are not perfect, we would try our best but our people know that we are doing things that would create prosperity for their future,” Governor Ambode said.
Giving an insight on the next plan of action for the Ibeju Lekki axis, Governor Ambode also said the construction of the Epe Airport and reconstruction of the Coastal Road were very much on course, adding that the dualization of the Eleko Junction to the T-Junction would commence in January 2019, while the 27 network of roads in Ojokoro, Ayinke House, among others would be completed before the next quarter.
The Governor, while thanking traditional rulers, community heads and residents of Ibeju Lekki for their unflinching support towards the advancement of the multibillion-dollar projects ongoing in the Lekki Free Trade Zone assured that all issues relating to compensation would be resolved before the end of the week.
Governor Ambode also announced the commencement of recruitment of 1,000 teachers in the State, adding that more would be recruited as the need arises.
Taking questions from residents, Governor Ambode said his administration would go back to the drawing board and respond accordingly to issues raised, appealing to residents to be patient as the Government would continue to deliver more life-changing projects to make life more comfortable for the people.
A physically challenged resident and a graduate of Computer Studies, Micheal Ogunyemi who said he had been jobless for five years could not hold back his joy as the Governor directed the Civil Service Commission to grant him immediate employment from August 1, while relevant agencies were directed to address various issues raised by residents.
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has ordered the immediate commencement of a 72-hour joint operation to restore sanity around Apapa and environs.
This comes after activities of truck drivers had caused traffic gridlock and made vehicular movement around the axis near impossible over the past few days.
Prof. Osinbajo who made an unscheduled stop at Apapa Port area on Friday afternoon for an on-the-spot assessment of the traffic gridlock, directed authorities concerned to restore sanity on the expressway, and for the Ministry Department and Agencies (MDAs) to speed up the decongestion of the port.
According to the Vice President’s directive, the operation would be carried out by a collaborative efforts of the Police, Nigeria Navy, Nigeria Army, the Nigeria Air Force, FRSC and the NSCDC, LASTMA, LASEMA, Container truck drivers, National Association of Road Transport Owners, NUPENG, Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria .
Prof. Osinbajo landed first at the Tin Can Island park, flown in by a Nigerian Navy chopper, and accompanied by the Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi and senior Naval and Police officers.
He walked close to the traffic to see the situation of things for himself and then proceeded to the Five Star Berth at the NPA where he met with relevant officials and security officers.
The plan is to within 72 hours take all the necessary and appropriate steps to restore order to the traffic situation and speed up work on the Port Decongestion.
In this exclusive interview on Channels Television’s Question Time, the Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, speaks on some of the issues in the ministry, including the causes of the derailment of trains and the gridlock around Apapa Wharf among others.
Is there the political will to back the transport policy to address the infrastructural gap and move the country out of recession?
Basically, I suspect that when they deal with the issue of inter-modal transport system, how to provide leverages for the nation to provide infrastructure for transportation — so you talk about railway, aviation; you talk about shipping (maritime management). We are looking at affordable and accessible transportation system. We are looking at the possibility of providing the necessary infrastructure, especially in the area of the railway; like the emphasis this time is more on railways than all other sectors. It is quite expensive and heavily dependent on government funding than the private sector. We believe that other reports will engage all these sectors that I have just mentioned to you, including rail transportation.
But people are worried that might to this administration’s tenure, that might be a project that will outlive or even span beyond in terms of completion and delivery. People are worried that will this administration be able to deliver the projects?
I thought the question was on the transport policy. The transport policy will outlive us. It is not fashioned after the current administration; it is fashioned to last beyond the current administration and that is why it is from June 2017 to 2028.
And you are not worried that the other incoming administrations that might possibly not be this government or political party might not buy into this dream? Are you not worried about the problem of continuity?
I am not. See, what I will do? I will wake up, carry a machete and chase them for not continuing from where we stop? Our job is to serve to the best of our ability. Like I said at the inauguration, we should be talking about smart transportation, we shouldn’t be looking at the common one everybody is used to. The point I made yesterday is that we need to leapfrog from where we met others. We do not need to first find how to drive a bus or a taxi and then move from there to train.
I gave an example of what I saw in Singapore where the airport had a smart terminal — very few human beings, they are not there to assist you. The technology is there for you to get used to and get yourself on the plane. Now, for us, the approach is both in terms of policy and in terms of infrastructural development. And you can give it to this government and the Buhari administration. President Buhari also insisted that we must ensure that we provide the necessary infrastructure in railways because it will grow the economy, it will create jobs and ensure that people are able to move from one point to the other in the best and most convenient form.
You talked about growing the economy, that is where we are at this point. We are just at the marginal point of leapfrogging beyond recession now; what are the immediate term strategy for the national transport policy that would aid this country in terms of economic growth?
I was quoted out of context when I received the report. I think This Day and one other paper, Leadership, in the social media. They reported that I said that the current government should stop blaming the past government. I am a student of history.
Yeah, I was about taking you up on that.
I am a student of History, I did not say that. I just said that our critics say we are blaming the last government, we should focus on our own development. And that is what we are focusing on. We are not interested in what the past governments must have done, but we cannot ignore the fact that they failed in critical parts.
We need to clear the air on that. Does that suggest in any way that this administration has disappointed Nigerians in terms of delivery?
I didn’t say that; you did not get what I said. I said that there are critics, there are those who criticise us and say that we should focus on our own developments and stop criticising the last government. So I just quoted them that despite the fact that they said so, we are focusing on our developments. That is what I said there. But instead of completing what I said there, they just took the context that suits them and put it on the pieces of newspaper. I did not say exactly what they said, I did not put it that way.
Maybe by default but that seems to be throwing the question back to this administration. Do you think this administration has performed creditably well, looking at your own (transport) sector?
I was coming to that, not only in the transport sector, when I took on the issue that I was misquoted. Let us look at the economy; everybody knew that by 2014, the economy has started going down. Whether we like it or not, it was going into recession. what we were praying is that our government should manage it in such a way that we do not go into depression. While congratulating the President, I also congratulate the Economic Team and the entire cabinet that not only did we come out of recession, the economy is growing.
At the recent aviation conference, the President did mention that this administration has failed in meeting up with critical infrastructure in the aviation sector.
Yeah, we are two years. Okay, two years maximum but not even three years. Do you think we could have created all the infrastructure that you needed to grow the aviation or the transport sector? We could not have. So when you asked the question, I wanted to address that question whether we have succeeded in the area of transportation. It depends on how you measure it. When we came, the former government said they had done a lot on the narrow-gauge. Check the narrow-gauge, how many things can move there?
General Electric (GE) promised us 100 locomotives. When they came down to Nigeria to access the tracks, the last exercise they did was to rehabilitate the tracks from Lagos to Kano and the GE did a survey of the tracks so that they can bring in the 100 locomotives they promised. They discovered that the two tracks we have – Lagos to Kano and Port Harcourt to Maiduguri – could not have taken more than 17 locomotives. So they did not bring the 100. Meanwhile, the past government said, “oh, we have fixed the railways, we have fixed the narrow-gauge.” If you run from here (Abuja) to Abeokuta, you have derailments. The last derailment I heard of is not Oshodi, it is after Oshodi that we had derailments.
So is this administration taking responsibility for these derailments?
How can we take responsibility for derailments that came out of the fact that most of those contractors were not railway contractors? Contracts were given to civil engineers, a company that builds houses had a contract.
And two years into this administration, you have not been able to rectify that?
No, how can you say a thing like that? We have brought it to the notice of the country that we are negotiating with GE instead of putting in our own money because we do not have money; the scarce resources we have cannot be spent when there are private sector investments.
Now you hinted earlier that the central focus of the National Transport Policy is going to be based on the rail transport. You did mention that a huge investment is going to the railway. When you look at the railway plan, which is also to a large extent centered on the concessioning plan, the plan looks incohesive.
Have you read it?
People believe that this administration has been piling up debts rather than exploring the possibilities of Public-Private Partnership.
Tell me one place in the world where Public-Private Partnership does rail. You know, I read The Punch editorial that took me on on that, that if you go to London or UK, you will see Public-Private Partnership. Two things first — you begin to see that Public-Private Partnership, the government has started withdrawing from it. Secondly, when you hear Public-Private Partnership in railway, it is operational and not construction. Is there anybody to show me that there was construction by any private investor? What they do is to lure you into a loan and they go back to pay for the loan. Do you know much it will cost? How many private investors will bring in $11billion to fix Lagos to Calabar? Name the company anywhere in the world and I will be glad to bring them in. Okay, take up till now, even though we have not advertised, why nobody has approached us in the management of the Kaduna-Abuja railway is because it is not profitable.
The only that will be profitable will be if we have completed the Lagos-Kano. There are people waiting for us to complete that and they will ask for you to concession it to them. So when you concession it to them, that is what The Punch was referring to as Public-Private Partnership, construction wise they should show me an example and I will copy that example. However, to rehabilitate the entire 3,500km of narrow-gauge that we had before, we are in conversation with GE, the concession led by GE that has promised to invest $2.7bn. So when they bring that $2.7 and they invest it in the project, then you can be sure that we have a Public-Private Partnership. Out of that amount, $700m is to rehabilitate the tracks.
When you talk of the narrow-gauge network which is being concessioned to the General Electric, there are fears over the future of the staff of the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
No, it does not mean that at all. We first received all the staff that belongs to the Nigerian Railway Corporation. When the Corporation did not go moribund, but the standard gauge between Lagos and Ibadan will be working, the standard gauge between Itakpe and Warri will be working, the standard gauge from Abuja to Kaduna will be working. First is that they are suggesting that we lay them off and pay them off the way that the Federal Government paid the staff of NEPA. That is what we need to do. Then GE can inherit or employ those that are qualified to work with them. The remainder that we can also hire, we will hire.
When you look at the railway reforms, you look at the obsolete laws in terms of the Railways Act being governed by the 1965 Act. Is it not the time for an amendment?
There is, it is before the National Assembly. We are waiting for them. There are about three to five transportation bills before the National Assembly — there is the National Transport Commission Bill (NTC), there is the Railway Amendment Act, there is the Port and Harbour Amendment Act, there is the NIMASA Amendment Act; there are quite a lot of bills.
And you do not feel some portions of these laws could affect part of your concessioning plans?
No, instead they expand a lot and allow for concessioning. There was no concessioning franchise in the other law. It allows the government the total monopoly of railways. Now the new law is trying to liberalise that and allow private investors to come into railway activities.
When you look at the procurement system now, do you feel overwhelmed sometimes?
Well, the current Director-General of the Bureau for Public Procurement (Mr Mamman Ahmadu) has been kind to all of us. He has been able to increase the pace of the speed which these things are delivered. If before it took you one year, this time will take you two months. I think it is the sense of change.
There have been issues over adherence to local contents in all these concessioning plans. So how do you intend to ensure that the whole plan keeps to the local content?
As much as possible, we are driving to ensure that Nigerians are involved because at the end of the day, Chinese or Europeans will go. And we are starting from design. These new contracts that we are going to award, that the President has approved, will deal with the issue of design. We will include our people, we will not exclude them at all. Then we are also ensuring that these foreigners are able to establish universities that will teach and improve the technology.
Now in the whole issue of railway construction, there have been complaints about massive demolition, especially along the Ijora-Badiya axis; how is your administration tackling these?
That is our land, those are illegal squatters. Will it not be a tautology to say they are illegal squatter? A squatter is a squatter. Well, we can have a legal squatter — a legal squatter can be somebody allowed permission to stay in a place for some time.
So you are not looking at compensation?
On my land? So I will pay a compensation for staying on my land free of charge? You should pay me rent. But anybody whose land we tamper with, that we acquire and we will pay compensation. There is an amount of money set aside for compensation, we pay compensation.
You did promise that the Lagos-Ibadan railway should be ready by December 2018. So taking a periodic assessment now, what are the plans?
Well, I am not the contractors, you cannot ask me for the plans.
But you take the responsibilities?
And the whole thing is on your shoulder?
I do (take responsibilities). Let me tell you why I said I am not the contractor. No matter what we do, it is the contractor that will do the construction. His contract is for three years, but for Christ’s sake, I need to deliver. Nigerians will ask me questions like you asked me now. What has the President Buhari administration done to improve the lives of Nigerians? For the Lagos-Ibadan, yes the contract is for three years, but we have insisted that they must complete by December 2018. They are working hard, they will soon start laying the tracks. The problem we have is that they should have started from Lagos but we are having problems with gas pipes, water pipes and all that. Once we sort out these problems, they will start laying tracks.
Let us move to the area of ports. There have been issues of ports congestion, especially around the Apapa axis.
That is not the making of the Nigerian Ports Authority.
When you consider the fact that Nigerians are looking up to you. In fact, people are saying that what is Chibuike Amaechi, the Transport Minister, going to do to fix this gridlock and port congestion on this axis?
Let us deal with the issue of gridlock before we go to port congestion. Okay, let us start with port congestion. First, the port congestion would not be the fault of the Nigerian Ports Authority that works under the Ministry of Transportation. Our responsibility is to provide the ports. The Nigeria Customs Service will give you the necessary bills to pay and clear your goods and take away. So if it is congested, it means that you are not taking away your goods. Okay that will be too simplistic but if you go further, the roads to the ports are bad. If you want to be more simplistic, you will say the road construction is not with the Ministry of Transportation.
But is this not an escapist way?
If you listen to me, I said that is being simplistic. The truth is that my colleague is facing that reality of focusing on the rehabilitation of the roads. Construction is in sight, but you must realise that it took several years to destroy that road, that cannot be done in one day. So if you agree that we are not miracle workers, it means that whatever plans we have will take time to mature.
But the public wants to know your plans for addressing this.
You have repeated this question since and I am not dodging the question if there is a word like dodging. I am saying that whatever plans that we have, it will take time for it to bear fruits. What is the first plan? For us in the transportation sector, since my colleague, Babatunde Fashola is already constructing the road with the contribution of NPA, do not forget that NPA made some financial contributions to that road. We are going to provide a permanent solution. We are in conversation with GE to provide locomotives that will begin to convey cargoes out of the seaports to different locations to decongest the seaports. That is what we are trying to do. Take another drive to the seaport and see what is going on.
So when are the trucks leaving Apapa axis?
Before February, we would have decongested the seaports. February will be too far.
Now let us move over to the aviation sector. We have a situation where flights are arbitrarily delayed and we also have the issue of multiple taxations which the operators are complaining about.
Well since we came, we have not increased or introduced new taxes.
It is as if the entire airline business is crippling, the operators are groaning.
How? By the time we came, a lot of airlines were owing the Federal Government. Nigerians should rise against such persons because government provided money to grow the aviation sector and gave them as loans. This person collected it and went out of the country and set up banks.
So what are you doing to those defaulters?
What can we do than take them to court? AMCON has moved in but for that very man, what are you going to take over?
Are you happy with the state of our airports?
Not completely; if I tell Nigerians I am happy with the state of the airports, do not forget that we are improving. Abuja airport was not the way it is now.
How will you feel when you hear the scorching that Port Harcourt airport is the worst airport in the world?
We have heard it as soon as we came but we are fixing it. But again, if you look at the end of the Port Harcourt airport, you will see the new terminal that we are building.
Again, the bulk of the reforms that are in the aviation sector is centred on concessioning and stakeholders in the aviation sector have taken to the streets; they are protesting
That we should not concession it?
They said against court cases
Okay, why don’t you want us to concession?
They are saying that the Federal Government is not following due process
What due process? We advertised meaning that anybody in the world should participate. If you put in your document, we will review the document according to the laws filed by the National Assembly. If you qualify, we will forward your name to the Bureau for Public Procurement.
Now 2019 is getting closer and I wonder if you would like to comment on Rivers State politics.
I thought you said you are here to deal with the Ministry of Transportation issues? Well, just wait.
Because you are a key player in Rivers State
Former governor of Rivers State, ex-politician
Ex-politician? But you are still the leader of APC in your state.
Did you ever hear me say that?
People are perceiving a big crack within the APC
Why don’t you wait until the election, that is when you will know whether there is a crack or not.
When you look at the Rivers State that you left behind and the Rivers State of today, how do you feel?
You are a journalist, why don’t you go and see for yourself. You are bringing me into Rivers State politics. The first thing the governor did is that the governor has just one agenda — if he is in his toilet, Amechi; if he is outside his toilet, Amechi; if he is going to see his mother, Amaechi. What baffles me is not the governor, it is the people.
You said something that the governor has only one agenda, which is Chibuike Amaechi. Do you feel, in the interest of the people of Rivers State, that you need to respond to some of these agenda levelled against you?
No, there is no need to respond. Why should I engage him? He was local government chairman when I was the speaker. He was my staff, it is like one of my sons.
He is alleging that you left an empty treasury in Rivers State.
Amid growing concern about the negative impact of the gridlock in Apapa on the nation’s economy, Senate President Bukola Saraki has called for a permanent solution.
Years of complaint by motorists, importers, and private sector players about the gridlock in Apapa, where the country’s biggest and most functional ports are located, has not led to a significant improvement in the situation.
Now, the Senate President believes it is up to the Senate to find the much-sought solution to the problem.
He arrived at the conclusion after an inspection of the roads in Apapa.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Saraki said, “After meeting, at the weekend, with a delegation of members of the private sector who complained to me about the high cost of getting goods out of the Apapa ports, due to the perpetual gridlock on the Apapa Port Road and other roads around the area, I conducted an aerial inspection of the roads this morning.
“It is clear, that the Senate must find a prompt and permanent solution to the problem. We must put in place an arrangement that is less cumbersome and not bogged down by bureaucracy. The arrangement must also include the participation of the private sector.”
The Senate President did not provide any details about how the Senate would go about finding the solution to the problem or what options it would consider.
His comments come just days after the Lagos State government announced a restriction on trucks and tankers that lift products from the ports or that operate in the area.
Specifically, the state government asked owners of articulated vehicles, trailers, and petroleum tankers to keep their vehicles away from the Apapa area of the city and its environs until it is able to find a solution to the unending traffic bottleneck.
The Acting Commissioner of Transportation in the state, Mr Olanrewaju Elegushi, in a statement announcing the restriction, explained that the directive would be enforced to eliminate the current hardship motorists face on the road every day.
According to him, the gridlock is worsened by the current rehabilitation of some major roads and other minor ones which necessitated the closure of some roads in Apapa.
The Lagos State Government has ordered owners and operators of articulated vehicles, trailers, and petroleum tankers to stay away from the Apapa area of the city and its environs until it is able to find a solution to the unending traffic bottleneck.
The Acting Commissioner of Transportation in the state, Mr. Olanrewaju Elegushi explained that the directive would be enforced to eliminate the current hardship motorists face on the road every day.
He says the gridlock is worsened by the current rehabilitation of some major roads and other minor ones which necessitated the closure of some roads in Apapa.
This also follows part of the traffic gridlock being experienced by motorists on the third mainland bridge.
The Lagos State Police Command, says it has arrested a police officer and 18 suspected hoodlums for the chaos along the Burma road in Apapa area of the state.
A statement released by the command’s spokesperson, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said the suspected hoodlums were part of those who took laws into their hands setting the bank ablaze.
The Assistant Superintendent of Police said the fire at the banks was put out by the police and other security agencies. He stated that the policeman that shot the driver would be charged to court immediately while investigations have begun as it concerns the 18 suspected hoodlums.
“Contrary to reports making rounds in the news, only one tanker driver was shot.
“The policeman has been arrested and would be charged to court immediately.
“The Lagos State Police Command would like to address the members of the public about the rate of impunity and jungle justice in the state.
“We are no longer going to tolerate the act of lawlessness and impunity by members of the public.” the statement read
The state’s Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, who was also present at the scene of the incident, commended his men for the quick intervention that stopped the hoodlums from wreaking more havoc.
The Lagos Zonal Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Mr Tokunbo Korodo, on Monday attributed the return of fuel scarcity to the ‘drastic drop’ in the loading activities in the loading depot.
He noted that most of the depots have been loading well for the past one week adding that “some are even rationing”.
Speaking via a telephone on Sunrise Daily, Mr Korodo, said that when the depots run by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are not loading well, “it gives room to the independent marketers we have at Apapa to be selling above the pump price
Mr Korodo said the unavailability of the Premium Motor Spirit is responsible for the rationing by depots across the country.
“The PPMC headquarters is supposed to pump to Ejigbo and also to Ibadan and other axis of Region 2B but they are not pumping because they don’t have enough stock.
“And if they don’t have enough stock, there depots will also be operating at a dormant capacity”, he added.
He further noted that only the PPMC can tell Nigerians what is responsible for the shortage of the product, adding that “with the way things are going, we need urgency to curtail this spread.”
“The problem is the marketers, dealers are now coming to Lagos to pick and they are ready to buy (the product) above the pump price”, he said.
No Need To Panic
The Pipelines and Products Marketing Company has asked the Nigerian populace to calm down as petroleum products will be available in the fuel stations soon.
The MD of PPMC, Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, said that about four vessels containing 30,000 tonnes of PMS arrived in the country on Sunday and the agency is doing all it can to ensure that the product is distributed efficiently.
Queues returned to the fuel stations in the last week and many motorists have been complaining about the seeming worsening situation in fuel supply.
There’s been another fuel tanker explosion in the Idimu area of Lagos State.
Reports say a tanker fully loaded with automotive gas oil otherwise known as diesel exploded around Idimu at about 12:30am today (Saturday).
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesman, Ibrahim Farinloye has confirmed that officials of the agency and the Federal and State Fire Services have converged in the area to manage the situation.
The accident came four days after a similar one occurred in Iyana Ipaja.
A fire disaster was averted on Wednesday at the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA) 2 in Lagos State, south west Nigeria.
The tanker was reportedly conveying diesel from Apapa to a location in Ogba Area of the nation’s commercial city, when it suddenly burst into flames in front of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) headquarters, close to MMA 2’s multi-storey car park.
Water hydrants were promptly deployed by the management of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited for use by the fire fighters from FAAN to put out the inferno which left the tanker half burnt.
Fire fighters from FAAN were said to have mobilised to the scene but could not do anything because there was no water in their fire truck.
The incident however, caused heavy gridlock and diversion of traffic around the airport.