IPMAN, Esele Blame Distribution Challenges, Dollar Scarcity For Fuel Price Hike

 

Amid the resurgence of queues at filling stations across the country, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) says the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) has a sufficient supply of petroleum products.

IPMAN President, Chinedu Okoronkwo, who made a live appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday, explained that the reason for the scarcity of petroleum products had to do with distribution challenges relating to “dollarisation”.

On the hand, NNPC’s Executive Vice President, Downstream, Adeyemi Adetunju, put the blame on some ongoing construction projects in Apapa, Lagos State, though he agreed that there was a “national PMS stock of over two billion litres. This is equivalent to over 30 days of sufficiency.”

READ ALSO: N186bn Oil Derivation Backlog Received So Far – Akwa Ibom Govt

However, Okoronkwo noted that petroleum marketers are expected to get the products from tank farm owners at N148.19 per litre, though according to him, they now receive the products at N185-N210.

“Their excuse will be that they hired vessels to take it from the mother vessel, pay all these charges, and some of these things are dollarised, so you have no choice. I think we can come (together) as a country to see how we (solve) some of these dollarisation things, use naira and pay some of these things,” Okoronkwo said.

“Those who have the muscle and everything to buy will buy. No, this product is there. It’s because of what I’ve just said. NNPC has enough stock but (it is) because of this distribution thing; that is where we need to do something.

“IPMAN has about five zones. You can (deposit) some of these products in various zones so that their accessibility will still be at a cost that is not even that big. We are ready to chip in something to cushion some of these things so that we can still remain within the margin. I think that is the way to go.”

File photo of fuel queue

 

Similarly, former President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Peter Esele attributed the long queues to an ongoing issue of distribution and pricing.

Esele noted that though NNPC has enough products on the ground, tank owners have to use “daughter vessels” to get the refined products from the sea to their tanks, a task that supposedly leads to rising costs.

“Hiring a vessel is not in naira; it’s done in dollars. These tank farm owners need to source for those dollars in the parallel market. And you and I know what has been happening in the parallel market in the last month where you’ve had price fluctuations.

“What you have is the tank farm owners are now saying they need to get value for their money. They can’t now go ahead to be selling at a loss.

“So, the minimum for which you can get a product from a tank farm now is between N200 and N215. If somebody wants to sell a product between N200 and N215, how will the retailers now sell at N175? That’s a fundamental challenge,” he said.

NNPC Blames Road Projects

A file photo of tankers.

Earlier, NNPC told journalists that the recent queues in Lagos were largely due to ongoing road infrastructure projects around Apapa and access road challenges in some parts of Lagos depots.

“The gridlock is easing out and NNPC has programmed vessels and trucks to unconstrained depots and massive load outs from depots to various states are closely being monitored,” Adetunju said.

“Abuja is impacted by the challenges recorded in Lagos. NNPC Retail and key marketers have intensified dedicated loading into Abuja to restore normalcy as soon as possible.

“We want to reassure all Nigerians that NNPC has sufficient products, and we significantly increased product loading including 24-hour operations in selected depots and extended hours at strategic stations to ensure products sufficiency nationwide.”

PPMC Transition Issues To Blame For Fuel Scarcity – PETROAN

File photo of an attendant selling fuel to a customer.

 

The National Chief of Staff of the Petroleum Retailers Outlet Owners Association In Nigeria (PETROAN), Emmanuel Inimgba, has indicated that power transition issues in the PPMC are to blame for the lingering fuel scarcity and long queues experienced across most parts of the nation.

Commuters and transporters have had to bare the brunt of these recent happenings as filling stations now sell between N195 to N200 per litre.

Speaking on the state of the issue during Channels Television’s flagship show, Sunrise Saturday, Inimgba insisted the slow power transition process within the subsidiary arm was hurting the economic activities

“There is this transition going on in this former PPMC .PPMC is no longer PPMC what you have now is NNPC retail which is for filling station owners and retailer and you have NNPC trucking which is for vessels tank farms and others/”

“NNPC based on these changes that is coming up has not been made public to Nigerians to know what is actually playing out. Products that are meant to be distributed up till now; one or two persons in former PPMC are still there as transition processes are ongoing and they are yet to transmit powers to the next persons,” he said.

Asked how the transition process has affected the price of  these products, the PETROAN representative said, “They came up with a portal called customer express portal it is for every marketer and every retailer. Once you are licensed with them to do business with them they make sure you are on board. Time to time you apply for allocation of products, there is no need for you to meeting a staff.”

“But this is not happening right now as I speak to you marketers are not allocated products we don’t know how to manage any more it is confusing and troubling that is why I say whatever is holding the transition in former PPMC 100%  should be done.”

Speaking further, Inimgba maintained that NNPC was keeping the public as well as necessary stakeholders in the dark over the availability of petroleum products

‘Disagreements Between NNPC And Marketers’

 

 

However, ex president of PENGASSAN, Mr Peter Esele  aslo a guest on the show said the current situation experienced in the country is courtesy of disputes between the NNPC and depot owners over price regulations.

“Once we have scarcity as we see it, you should just know that there is a disagreement between NNPC and marketers on what they should pay you are having a cost overrun so they can’t pay at N170 or N175 is what is playing out”

“I think it has to do with government policy in the oil and gas sector in the short term .But what Nigerian need right now is this government needs to make a decision in the interim between now and May 29th in the oil and gas and to address the oil and gas,” he said.

Esele asserted that another difficulty to overcome was the access to foreign exchange to carry out transactions in as short period of time

“Depot owners are using dollars to carry out these transactions. Nobody will give you a vessel in Naira and if they are going to give you a vessel in Naira, they are going to do a conversion and the conversion rate will be done in with the parallel market because they can’t source that Dollar from CBN in 24-48 hours/”

Esele also revealed ,”I cannot tell you how long it will last, the reason they are not talking is because we have to define subsidy, can they continue subsidy that is an issue, and how much we have to agree for marketers to sell at pump price.”

“But I will tell you before Christmas, NNPC will find a way around it, but the underlying fact is get ready for price increase this is where it is dovetailing to.”

Marketers Get Petrol At Over N200 Per Litre From Depots, IPMAN Cries Out

File photo of fuel queue

 

Amid a fresh scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit known as petrol in major cities like Lagos and Abuja, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has decried the “unsustainable” price the essential product is sold by private depot owners.

IPMAN Deputy National President Zarama Mustapha spoke on Thursday on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

For weeks, vehicle owners especially in Lagos and Abuja have had a tough time getting petrol from filling stations. Whilst many outlets are closed, the few ones that are open sell the indispensable commodity for as high as N250 per litre from the uniform price of N169/litre.

The shortage of supply has led to long, grueling snake-like queues at the few open filling stations as motorists and business owners jostle to buy fuel while others resort to black market. The situation has also worsen traffic on major roads as vehicle owners block at least one lane to join queues to filling stations.

 

IPMAN Deputy National President Zarama Mustapha on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on November 24, 2022

 

Speaking on Thursday, Mustapha said private depots get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from the sole importer of the commodity, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited. However, they sell it for as high as N195 to N210 to independent marketers.

He said though marketers get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from NNPC depots, the company does not have enough storage facilities to cater to the needs of marketers, hence, the latter resorts to private depot owners.

Mustapha said, “It is more of the issue of the private depots collecting the products at the approved price and not selling to the independent marketers at the price approved by the mainstream, downstream regulatory authority.

READ ALSO: Sanusi Queries 66m Litres Daily Fuel Consumption, Wants NNPC Disbanded

“The agreed price as at now, NNPC sells to independent marketers at N148/litre but we don’t get the product at that rate, we get the product as high as N195 to N210 from the depot owners which is not really sustainable.”

“You cannot get a product at N195 to N200 and expect to sell it at N175,” he noted.

The IPMAN official said depot owners give excuses such as the cost of transportation of the product from the mother vessel to their depots and escalation of the dollar as reasons for the price hike.

Mustapha lamented that most Lagos depots are in a chaotic situation and marketers spend three days to load refined petrol that they are not supposed to spend more than three hours to lift.

Scarcity During Yuletide?

The IPMAN official, however, ruled out fuel scarcity during the 2022 Yuletide, saying the regulatory agencies are doing all they can to intervene and ensure the product is available at filling stations nationwide.

“There is no serious scarcity for now and I believe the management of NNPC, the regulatory bodies and others are doing everything possible to see that this Yuletide period, supply is going to be consistent, supply is going to be improved, and there will be available products in most of the filling stations.”

He urged the NNPC to engage depot owners to sell the product to marketers at the recommended price, saying the common man is at the receiving end.

Mustapha also said some of the problems associated with the epileptic supply of petrol will be a thing of the past if the country’s four refineries are working.

Why Fuel Scarcity Won’t End In Nigeria – PETROAN President

 

Scarcity of petroleum products will continue to be an issue in Nigeria until local refining capacity is improved, the President of the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), Billy Gillis-Harry, has said.

“The reality is that until we have our local refining capacity improved, efficient and in consistent production, we are not going to be able to say this is when this is going to end,” he said on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily Programme on Thursday.

Gillis-Harry stated that product unavailability and logistic challenges are some of the reasons for recurring fuel scarcity, especially in Abuja, Lagos, and other parts of the country.

He blamed the recent floods for the scarcity of premium motor spirit also known as petrol in Abuja and other places in the North-Central as the roads are impassable.

READ ALSO: We Discovered 295 Illegal Connections To Our Pipelines – NNPC

The PETROAN president, however, attributed Lagos fuel scarcity to unavailability of the product at depots. “As far as Lagos is concerned, if there is a scarcity or price issue in Lagos it is simply based on the fact that there are no products in the depots, that’s the reality,” he said.

On the hike in prices of petroleum products, he said, “Let me explain this to all of us, petroleum product pricing is supposed to be dynamic in the sense that if we bought from (Pipelines and Products Marketing Company Limited) PPMC depots at PPMC price, everybody is expected to sell in their retail outlets at N165.

“But if we had to buy from other depots who had bought from the PPMC and had to ship it and go through the necessary protocols of delivering it to the depots from where we have to take it, the price will be higher because the cost is dollarised, everything about petroleum products is dollarized that is just what is happening.”

Commuters Stranded As Fuel Queues Resurface In Lagos

Fuel queues surfaced in Lagos on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.
File photo: Fuel queues surfaced in Lagos

 

Many commuters are stranded at various bus stops in Lagos State on Tuesday morning as fuel queues resurface in parts of Nigeria’s economic nerve centre.

Channels Television moved around some areas in the commercial city and observed snake-like queues comprising private and commercial vehicles at filling stations.

The queues spilled into main roads and took at least a lane as of 8 am on Tuesday when Channels Television moved through over 25 filling stations domiciled in the Agege, Alimosho, Ifako-Ijaiye, Ikeja local government areas of the state.

The queues appeared on Monday but worsened hours later as vehicle owners scramble for Premium Motor Spirit also known as petrol.

At one of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited outlets at Omole, near the popular Berger Bus Stop, a fuel attendant told Channels Television that the station did not get fuel supply over the weekend, hence the shortage.

Another fuel attendant who spoke anonymously attributed the supply shortfall to the flooding ravaging parts of the country, saying tanker drivers are having a tough time navigating dilapidated roads worsened by incessant rainfall and devastating floods.

READ ALSO: N3.36tn Allocated For Fuel Subsidy In 2023, Debt Profile Hits $102bn – FG

Meanwhile, commuters were stranded at numerous bus stops in the four local government areas as commercial vehicles popularly known as Danfos, and tricycles locally known as Keke Napep hiked transport fares by about 50%.

Efforts to get the comments of NNPC spokesperson, Garba-Deen Mohammed, proved abortive as of press time as his line was switched off. Also, a text message sent to his line has not been replied to.

On Saturday, NNPC Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari at the commissioning of Pinnacle Oil and Gas FZE Terminal in the Lekki area of Lagos said, “The largest consumer of petroleum product is Lagos and anytime we have any disruption to supply in Lagos, we panic because the trouble will start here.”

Floods have also disrupted fuel supply in Abuja and some North-Central states like Kogi, Nasarawa, and Benue where bridges vital for the movement of fuel tankers have been submerged.

Over 20 states across Nigeria have been affected by devastating floods in the last two months, displacing millions and killing over 600 persons, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.

The Nigeria Liquefied and Natural Gas (NLNG) Company recently declared force majeure because of the tragic floods across the country which have disrupted supply.

The notice sent users of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) also known as cooking gas into panic mode but the company said there is no need for panic buying or hoarding of the essential domestic commodity.

Queues Return To Filling Stations In Rivers

Fuel queues surfaced in Lagos on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.
File photo: Fuel queues surfaced in Lagos on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.

 

Long queues have once again surfaced at filling stations in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital.

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) had last week threatened to suspend the lifting of Premium Motor Spirit also known as petrol from depots in the state over allegations of harassment by security agents.

It would appear the petroleum marketers have made good their threat as queues have been observed at different petrol stations in the state capital and its suburbs.

Driving through Port Harcourt, a casual observer would be inundated either by closed petrol stations, or queues building up at opened stations. You would be forgiven for asking what is going on.

Some of the customers who spoke to Channels Television not only lamented the long times spent before purchasing the product but also the attendant hike in the price of the product.

A disgruntled customer who gave his name simply as Ebere said the increase in price has translated into an increase in the cost of transportation as well.

While some stations were locked, others that were open jacked up the prices. At the NNPC retail station on East-West road, Channels Television discovered that while the metre on the dispenser displayed 179 per liter, the attendant sold fuel at 190.

With the increased waiting time and frustration at the new situation, tempers have begin to boil over even as some people resort to stocking up the product in containers because they don’t know what the future holds.

It is not known how long this scarcity will last and if there is any light at the end of the tunnel, however, if past fuel scarcities are anything to go by, then residents of the Garden City may just be in for a very unpleasant period.

Petrol Scarcity Bites Harder In Kaduna As Marketers Sell At N220 Per Litre

 

The lingering scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit otherwise known as petrol has continued to bite harder in several parts of Kaduna state, as the pump price of the product has risen as high as N220 per litre.

This comes amid uncertainty about when the scarcity will abate in the northern part of the country.

Although the state plays host to the Kaduna Petrochemical and Refining Company( KRPC), the lingering scarcity of PMS has continued to unleash untold hardship and suffering for the residents who mostly rely on the product for their daily activities.

READ ALSO: Fuel Subsidy Is Estimated At N6.72tn For 2023 – Finance Minister

Most of the filling stations owned by major marketers in the Kaduna state capital are currently out of stock, while the few ones with the product, owned by independent marketers, are selling above the government-approved pump price of N165.

While the long queues are not as heavy as it was early this year when the scarcity started, the few filling stations where petrol is available, are now using the law of demand to fix their pump prices.

Residents lament that despite the assurance by the Federal Government to address the scarcity, the situation has continued to linger, even as they say they buy fuel at the filling stations at an expensive rate.

The prices range from N185 to N220 per litre, with motorists lamenting the negative impact of the arbitrary price increase in their daily lives.

On their part, the independent petroleum marketers attribute the increase in petrol pump prices to many factors, ranging from non-availability of products to the cost of landing from Lagos to Kaduna, and the high cost of diesel to power their generators due to the lack of electricity supply.

‘FG Not responsible’

Price increases have been recorded in many parts of the country, including in Lagos and Abuja.

However, the Federal Government has denied that it is responsible for the increase.

According to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, the government is still subsidising petrol.

Speaking at the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) stakeholders’ consultation forum on regulations earlier this week, Sylva said the marketers are most likely to blame.

“I can tell you authoritatively that we have not deregulated,” he said.

“The government is still subsidising. If there are increases in price, it is not from the government. It is probably from the marketers.

“But I will talk to the authorities to actually regulate the price. But this is not from the government. We have not deregulated.”

Meanwhile, petrol subsidy claims continue to skyrocket.

According to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited, petrol subsidy claims reached N2.6 trillion in the first half of 2022, surpassing revenue generated from the sale of crude oil.

Why There’s Fuel Scarcity – PENGASSAN

 

President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Festus Osifo, has shed light on the reasons behind the fuel scarcity experienced across the country, particularly in Lagos and Abuja.

During an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, he highlighted the issue of ‘bridging funds’ between the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and truck drivers who deliver the Premium Motor Spirits (PMS).

Read Also: Selling Petrol At N165 Unrealistic, Says IPMAN As Scarcity Hits Lagos

“The NMDPRA are the ones administering a bridging fund. At a particular time, they agreed with truck drivers that the bridging fund is going to be about N10 per litre depending on the destination you’re going to all over the country.

“As at when they agreed, the cost of diesel was about N250 so it was fashionable and the N10 was a bit okay but today, the cost of diesel is over N700. It has tripled. So, the expectations from the tanker drivers is that since the cost has gone up, instead of paying me N10.40kobo as the case may be, you have to multiply it by three.

“At the end of the day, that is the first problem”.

Contrary to the belief that PMS is scarce, the PENGASSAN boss said that there’s at least 2 billion litres in stock.

“As at today, we have close to 2 billion litres of PMS, so the problem is not the stock,” he said, explaining that while the stock is available, most of the truck drivers are not willing to move these products “because of the previous problem I just enumerated”.

“One of the issues again is that today, NNPC is the sole importer of PMS, so they import PMS into the country, and this PMS is brought to the high sea, so they rent some smaller vessels to bunker the PMS and take to the various tank farms or depots. So, if it’s the NNPC depots and you are loading from the NNPC depots, you are going to pay abut N148 as the ex-depot price. But some of the PMS are also stored in private depots and those private depots don’t sell to the retailers for 148; they add some premium to it, at the end the of the day, they sell between 152, 155, 160 and 162.

“So, if they sell at that amount, it will now be difficult for the retailer to go and sell at the same amount.”

Meanwhile, President Muhamamdu Buhari has defended the Federal Government’s decision to keep paying fuel subsidies.

In a response to Bloomberg, the President said the effects of removing fuel subsidies would have been too harsh on the Nigerian people.

He said the government is working on boosting local capacity in order to stem the inflationary pressures that are likely to be triggered by a removal of subsidies.

“Most western countries are today implementing fuel subsidies. Why would we remove ours now?” What is good for the goose is good for the gander!” The President said.

Fuel Scarcity: Airlines Warn Of Imminent Disruptions To Flights

A file photo of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
A file photo of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.

 

The Airlines Operators of Nigeria (AON) has warned that the flight operations of its members may experience disruptions due to a growing scarcity of aviation fuel (Jet-A1).

A statement signed by AON’s spokesperson Prof. Obiora Okonkwo, said the “The scarcity is impacting negatively on seamless conduct of air transport operations and would lead to flight rescheduling, and, or, cancellations.”

However, the operators said they are “working very hard, and in alliance with product marketers, government and relevant stakeholders, to ensure availability and proper pricing of aviation fuel in the country.

READ ALSO: Students Block Major Roads In Oyo, Edo, Ondo To Condemn Prolonged ASUU Strike

“While pleading the understanding of the flying public in the face of this reality, we also promise to do all that is necessary, and within our powers, to restore normal flight schedules as soon as possible.”

The AON last week had threatened to shutdown operations over the rising cost of Jet-A1.

The shutdown was called off after the Federal Government intervened.

AON members on May 9 met with the leadership of the House of Representatives and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The NNPC at the meeting pledged to make available six million litres of JetA1 to aviation fuel marketers chosen by the AON as part of efforts to temporarily resolve the crisis.

But Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, noted that the price of the product cannot be guaranteed because it is affected by global market forces.

Fuel Scarcity: Lawyer Sues Buhari Over Hardship Experienced By Nigerians

Alleged Bribery: Witness Testifies As Rickey Tarfa’s Trial Continues
File photo

 

A Lagos-based legal practitioner, Festus Ogun on Monday filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari at the Federal High Court in Lagos over the excessive pain, hardship and agony Nigerians went through as a result of the fuel scarcity experienced earlier this year.

The legal practitioner said he solemnly believed that the gross inefficiency and mismanagement in the Petroleum Sector that led to the fuel scarcity was avoidable if the President was not holding the dual position of Petroleum Minister in violation of Section 138 of the 1999 Constitution.

He also contended that the President’s continuous service as Petroleum Minister is not only illegal and unconstitutional.

READ ALSO: Murder Charge: Trial Of Chidinma To Continue Tuesday

“It is inimical to our economic growth and likely to occasion future scarcity and inefficiency that will affect the country and its good people,” Ogun said.

“I make bold to say that it is practically and legally impossible for the President to hold his elected position that comes with enormous responsibilities, contemporaneously with the position of Petroleum Minister. It has no basis in law, logic and politics.”

“If Nigerians suffered that heavily during the fuel scarcity, the President must be answerable for it. There must be consequences. And as a citizen of this country, I believe we must avert a reoccurrence; whether under this regime or in future administrations.”

The case is yet to be assigned to any judge.

Buhari Apologises To Nigerians Over Fuel Scarcity, Reacts To Blackouts

A file photo taken on February 16, 2022, shows an NNPC retail outlet in Abuja amid the fuel scarcity in the country. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday apologised to Nigerians for the inconvenience caused by the prolonged shortage of petroleum products.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, he said his administration had successfully averted such a problem in its seven years in office.

“The administration knows the fuel shortage has placed a strain on Nigerian citizens and businesses, but relief is on the way. I specially apologise to all sections of the society for this,” said the President.

“The government is working round the clock to attend to this issue. An action plan agreed earlier this month is being implemented to address the scarcity. Working together with the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), this plan is now bearing fruit.

“Sufficient fuel supply has returned to a handful of states, with the queues at stations falling. In the coming days, we expect this to be the case across the rest of the country. Looking to the longer term, funds are being targeted toward keeping fuel availability affordable for the country.

“The international energy markets have surged drastically in recent months, the government will however ensure that consumers are protected against these price spikes.”

The President revealed that he has received information that some people were not behaving properly at the depots, and among owners of petrol stations.

In this regard, he directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and the entire security apparatus of the nation to take strong action against those responsible.

 

Improved Power

A file photo of a powerline.
A file photo of a powerline.

 

President Buhari also spoke about the issue of power outages witnessed recently in various parts of the country.

“The blackouts seen in the national grid are also being addressed,” he assured Nigerians. “A dip in hydroelectric generation due to seasonal pressures has coincided with technical and supply problems at thermal stations.

“On this, the government is also working tirelessly to resolve the issues at the latter to guarantee sufficient power flows into the national grid.”

As part of emergency measures put in place following a meeting convened with key stakeholders to address the low power generation in the country, the President said the main challenge was identified as being one of low gas power generation, as a result of sabotage of gas pipelines leading to the shutdown of power plants coupled with routine maintenance on other gas power plants.

To recover over 1000MW, he said actions were agreed upon between the players in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) and NNPC.



According to President Buhari, the actions targeted the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) plants, Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), and power plants run under NNPC Joint Ventures, Agip and Shell (NAOC and SPDC).

He explained that progress on the key actions has already ensured the restoration of 375MW to the grid after the pipeline from “Okpai 1” was repaired.

To also ramp up the underutilised capacity of the NDPHC capacity, he said a $50 million gas supply agreement was being finalised to secure the sustainability of up to 800MW of underutilised NIPP assets.

The President assured Nigerians that the government’s attention to these problems would bear fruits very soon.

Fuel Scarcity: Probe Spending On Refineries Or Face Legal Action, SERAP Tells Buhari

A photo combination of SERAP’s logo and President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to “direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the appropriate anti-corruption agencies to probe the spending on the country’s four refineries.

The organisation also asked the President to probe alleged corruption and mismanagement of public funds budgeted for the rehabilitation, operation, and maintenance of the refineries since 1999 or risk legal action.

“Anyone suspected to be responsible should face prosecution as appropriate, if there is sufficient admissible evidence, and any mismanaged public funds should be fully recovered,” SERAP said in a statement signed by its Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, on March 5.

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It also urged President Buhari to “direct Mr Malami and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to bring to justice those suspected to be responsible for the importation and distribution of dirty fuel into the country, and to urgently identify and ensure access to justice and effective remedies to affected victims.”

“There is a legitimate public interest in ensuring justice and accountability for alleged corruption and mismanagement in the oil sector and the resulting importation and distribution of dirty fuel and protracted fuel scarcity in the country.

“The importation and distribution of dirty fuel, and the current fuel scarcity across the country demonstrate the need for effective accountability measures to weed out, expose, and punish allegations of corruption in the sector, and to ensure justice and effective remedies for victims.”

The agency believes that allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the oil sector have contributed to the importation and distribution of bad fuel, causing environmental problems and violating the human rights of many users, including to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment.

To curb the situation, SERAP says investigating and prosecuting allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the spending on the refineries would be entirely consistent with constitutional guarantees and international standards.

“It may also galvanize public support for your government’s anti-corruption efforts,” it added.

“Alleged corruption and mismanagement in the oil sector, the importation and distribution of dirty fuel, and protracted fuel scarcity amount to a fundamental breach of constitutional and international human rights obligations, depriving Nigerians of economic opportunities and subjecting them to cruel and degrading treatment.”

The organisation, therefore, asked the Federal Government to instruct the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to jointly track and monitor the spending of public funds to rehabilitate, operate, and maintain the country’s refineries.

Stressing that the situation has caused serious hardship for Nigerians, SERAP reminded the government of its responsibility to protect and secure the maximum welfare of citizens.

“Under Section 16(1) of the Constitution, your government has a responsibility to ‘secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity.’ Section 16(2) further provides that, ‘the material resources of the nation are harnessed and distributed as best as possible to serve the common good.”

The agency asked the government to act on the recommended measures within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of the letter in which the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Malami was also copied.

SERAP threatened that if it does not hear from them within the given time frame, it will “consider appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.”