Navy Burns Boat With 273 Drums Of Petrol In Calabar

A new report estimates that an average of 100,000 barrels are stolen a day. (Photo: Akintunde Akinleye)

 

The Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Victory, Calabar, has set ablaze a seized wooden boat laden with 273 drums of Premium Motor Spirits (PMS) known as petrol along the Calabar waterways.

Speaking with journalists in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, the Base Operation Officer of NNS Victory, LT CDR Isaac Ayogu explained that the suspects were intercepted en route Agbani oil terminal.

Ayogu said the exercise is in accordance with the standard procedure of the Nigerian Navy as directed by Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor that any item arrested associated with crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering should be destroyed and suspects, if any, handed over to appropriate prosecuting agency.

READ ALSO: FG Defends Destruction Of Vessel, Says No Investigation Needed

LT CDR Ayogu assured Nigerians that the Navy is out to rid the maritime environment of all illegalities so that legitimate maritime activities can thrive.

The six suspects have been handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency which happens to be the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

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.

Unprecedented Flooding In Kogi Causing Fuel Queues In Abuja – NMDPRA

A file photo of fuel tankers on one of the highways in Nigeria.

 

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has provided an advisory on the current queues at fuel stations in Abuja.

According to NMDPRA, the fuel queues are caused by unprecedented flooding in Lokoja, Kogi State, which has submerged a greater part of the city and grounded all vehicular movements.

This unfortunately has affected the distribution of petroleum products to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and environs.


READ ALSO: 2023 Presidency: 19 Key Points Peter Obi Made At Harvard University


NMDPRA in its statement on Thursday noted that as part of measures to mitigate the situation, trucking via alternative routes is currently ongoing.

The authority assured the public that there are sufficient petroleum products inland. Consequently, the general public was advised to avoid panic buying at fuel stations, even as the NMDPRA said it is working assiduously with relevant stakeholders and government agencies to ensure product availability across the country.

In the same context, marketers were advised to desist from hoarding the product so as not to inflict hardship on Nigerians.

The NMDPRA reiterated that the authority is commitment to Nigerians to ensure seamless supply and distribution of petroleum products nationwide.

Budget Chief Decries Waste In Govt, Advocates Petrol Subsidy Review

A file photo of an attendant filling the fuel tank of a car.

 

The Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, has decried what he described as waste in government, advocating for the review of the fuel subsidy.

Akabueze, who spoke during an interview on Channels Forum, a Channels Television special to mark Nigeria’s 62nd Independence anniversary, said the government’s spending on subsidies has been gulping a lot of resources after the personnel cost and debt servicing.

READ ALSO: Petrol Will Cost ₦462/Litre Without Subsidy, Says NNPCL

He advised President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to prioritise on its spending while cutting down on some unnecessary waste.

The Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, speaks on Channels Forum, a Channels Television special to mark Nigeria’s 62nd Independence anniversary on October 1, 2022.

 

“We need to take a hard look at the petrol subsidy that is the single largest item of expenditure after personnel cost and debt service for the Federal Government,” Akabueze said.

“There are some wastes that we still need to cut. We need to do the job of prioritising how we spend the limited resources that are available.”

He also denied insinuations that the government is spending too much money, saying the current administration needs to explore more ways of generating revenue.

According to Akabueze, the country’s infrastructure faces a significant deficit, with many public services suffering.

“Our problem is not that the government is spending too much money. The truth is that the government is not spending enough money and the numbers are there to show.

“The public expenditure to GDP ratio is at the bottom even on the African continent and that is why public services are suffering whether in health or education. The infrastructure faces a significant deficit. It is however correct that we can be more efficient in our expenditure,” the accountant added.

Akabueze’s comments come a month after Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, presented the government’s proposal of spending N3.36 trillion on petrol subsidy in 2023.

Zainab who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance in Abuja on August 29, reiterated petrol subsidy will remain in place until mid-2023.

She explained the Federal Government is proposing an aggregate expenditure of N19.76 trillion for the 2023 financial year, with a projected deficit of N11.30 trillion.

FG Has Nothing To Do With Increase In Price Of Petrol – Sylva

FILE: The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva speaks during an interview on Channels Television’s Newsnight on January 24, 2022.

 

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, says the Federal Government is not responsible for the increase in the price of petrol across the country.

According to Sylva, the government is still subsidising petrol.

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

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

“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.”

While the official pump price of the product is pegged at N165 per litre, many filling stations have been selling for as high as N180.

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.

Man Sets Varsity Student Ablaze During Brawl Over Sale Of Adulterated Petrol

Festac
File photo

 

The Akwa Ibom State Police Command says its operatives are on the trail of a roadside petrol dealer in the university town of Obio Akpa in Oruk Anam Local government area of the state.

Mr Odiko Macdon, who is the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, explained that the suspect was declared wanted for setting an undergraduate student ablaze.

The suspect, now at large, was said to have fled the scene of the crime after setting the victim identified as on fire after an argument with him.

The victim was identified as Enwongo Akpan, a 200-level student of the Department of Philosophy at the Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU).

It was gathered that Akpa had bought petrol worth N500 from the suspect and later discovered it was adulterated when it failed to start his generator.

He was reported to have returned the petrol to the seller and demanded a refund of his money from the suspect, an action that resulted in an argument between the duo.

In the heat of the argument, the suspect collected the petrol, poured it on the victim, and struck matches on him while people around scampered for safety.

Channels Television gathered that the victim was later rescued by villagers and students while the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Nse Essien, was alerted of the incident.

Professor Nse Essien directed that the victim be taken to a popular hospital in Abak for immediate attention, after which he was moved to another medical facility for better treatment.

According to Macdon, the police are already on the trail of the suspect and will soon apprehend him with a view to bringing him to justice.

FG Insists On N165 Per Litre For Petrol

 

The Federal Government has said that the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) remains N165 per litre across all filling stations nationwide.

This was made known by the Executive Director, Distribution Systems, Storage and Retail Infrastructure, NMDPRA, Mr. Ugbugo Ukoha, in Lagos.

In a similar development, The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) says it has resolved to maintain the status quo ante, even as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Pipeline and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) responded positively to the association’s request by releasing products from their tank farms that can last 32 days.’

IPMAN’s National President, Chinedu Okoronkwo, said this at a briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.

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.

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

A photo shows an NNPC retail outlet as people struggle to buy petrol. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

It was one of the unusual days in Lagos on Monday as many residents spent hours waiting on queues in filling stations at various locations in the state.

This was as a result of the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol which affected businesses which depend on the product for power due to the erratic supply of electricity in the country.

Similarly, the number of commercial vehicles plying the roads was less compared to a regular business day, leaving many passengers stranded at various bus stops.

While some were forced to pay extra fares for transportation, others opted to trek to their respective destinations, including offices, markets, and homes.

Amid fears that the scarcity might be a result of industrial action by members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), the union said it took a decision to go on strike.

In an interview with Channels Television, the Lagos Zonal Chairman of IPMAN, Akin Akinrinade, explained the rationale behind the fuel scarcity.

 

According to him, the situation across the state is as a result of the operating environment which has become hostile to their businesses.

Akinrinade specifically stated that the petroleum marketers were not on strike as feared but have found it difficult to operate considering the dependence on diesel whose price has skyrocketed.

“Members of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria IPMAN have shut down their stations, not because we are striking; we are not on strike,” he said.

“Rather, the business environment has been very hostile to us such that we can no longer do business under this condition. For you to load a litre of petrol, you pay in N162 per litre.”

The IPMAN official was quick to say the situation had nothing to do with the removal of subsidy or deregulation of the petroleum sector.

He listed the high cost of buying petrol at the depots, the high cost of diesel for running their station, and the increased cost of freight as the major factors responsible.

Akinrinade stressed that it was no longer feasible to sell the product at the recommended price of N165 to a litre, adding that the landing cost of petrol was between N175 to N178 naira to the litre.

“You now have to add the cost of transportation which is between N6 to N8, depending on the distance within Lagos,” he explained. “If it is outside Lagos, it is much more than that.

“So, if you add N8 to N162, you already have N170 and the government which is the regulator wants us to sell at N165; we have not even added the charges at the depot and the running cost at our stations.”

“You know what diesel says now, and you know how epileptic power supply is; we run on generator, using diesel at N800 per litre. There is no station in Lagos that uses less than 50 litres (of diesel) per day.

“So, our members can no longer sell (petrol) at N165 per litre; in fact, there is no reasonable person in this business that can sell below N180 per litre, so it is not as if we are on strike,” he concluded.

Marketers Threaten To Halt Fuel Supply In North-West States Over N40bn Debt

A file photo of an attendant filling the fuel tank of a car.

 

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Gusau Depot, has threatened to stop transporting petroleum products within Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and parts of Katsina state.

The threat came following the Federal Government’s failure to settle its N40bn outstanding payment to IPMAN members, IPMAN’s Zonal Chairman, Yahya Kamba, said.

According to Mr Kamba, the payment is based on importation and transportation claims of up to 11 months.

 READ ALSO: Govt Can’t Do Everything, Private Sector Can Do Better, Says Prof Ife

He said the Federal Government has reneged on the agreement reached with the association.

“It is not a subsidy,” Mr Kamba said. “It is money that we marketers contributed. We have to pay a certain amount for every litre we purchase from the government. Just for the country to have a uniform pump price.

“We contributed this money just the way pensioners contribute their own. So there is no reason anyone can give us to say they have no money. We are asking for our contribution.

“Our arrangement is for the Ministry to pay us every week; when you transport this product, you are supposed to be paid within a week; but now we are counting months. We have counted up to 11 months. The payment has stopped since June 2021.”

Kaduna Residents Groan As Black Marketers Sell Petrol At N1,000/Litre

 

Residents of Kaduna groaned on Wednesday as black marketers sell Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol for N1,000 per litre in parts of the state.

This comes amid the fuel scarcity that hit the country recently and has yet to abate. Channels Television observed that motorists continue to queue for hours at petrol stations to buy the product.

In the capital city of Kaduna, the residents lamented that despite the assurance by the Federal Government to address the scarcity, the situation has continued to linger, even as they said they buy fuel at the black market at an expensive rate.

READ ALSO: NNPC Insists Toxic Petrol Not Imported Deliberately, Says Fuel Scarcity To End Soon

One of the residents, Abdulsalam Munir, told Channels Television that he had been in the queue for over five hours, yet he could not buy petrol.

A screenshot shows a crowd at a filling station in Kaduna State on February 16, 2022.

 

He, therefore, called on the Federal Government and state authorities to tackle the fuel scarcity for the overall good of Nigerians.

“I spent more than five hours following the line,” he lamented. “Since when I came, I haven’t gotten fuel and my car was on the line. “Up till now (in the afternoon), I haven’t bought fuel.

“Even when you go to the black market, we buy one litre for N1,000. So fuel is very scarce and we are calling on the government to put an end to this thing.”

Just like Munir, a passenger, Buhari Sa’ad, bemoaned the increase in transportation fare as a result of the fuel scarcity.

Giving an instance, he said motorists usually charge N1,500 as a fare for Kaduna to Kano, but the fare has increased to N2,000 as a result of the current situation.

“We are calling on this government to please consider our people because it is not all of us that have the money. Most of the people cannot travel because of this fuel scarcity,” he said.

Providers Of Substandard Fuel Must Be Held Accountable – Buhari

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday said producers and providers of consumable products be held accountable for substandard services and or products sold by them.

He made the comment on following the circulation of adulterated fuel in the country. Buhari also directed the relevant government agencies to take every step in line with the laws of the country to ensure the respect and protection of consumers against market abuses and social injustices.

Buhari, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, said the protection of consumer interests is a priority of the present administration and is ready to take all necessary measures to protect consumers from hazardous products, loss, or injuries from the consumption of substandard goods.

The president directed that in line with the law, service providers must make full disclosure of relevant information with respect to the consumption of their products and that dissatisfied consumers are entitled to a proper redress of their complaints.

READ ALSO: PDP Slams APC For Allegedly Shielding Leaders Involved In ‘Toxic Fuel’ Importation

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of attempting to provide official cover for their leaders reportedly involved in the criminal importation of toxic fuel into the country.

PDP in a statement by its spokesman, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, demanded an investigation into reports of how APC leaders allegedly connived with foreign interests to import very cheap heavily contaminated fuel-laden with methanol in their desperation to defraud Nigerians and corruptly raise billions of naira to fund the APC national convention and rigging of the 2023 general elections.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) had on Wednesday explained how ‘adulterated’ Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from Belgium and listed the companies – MRS, Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium, Oando, and Duke Oil as the culprits.

Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, said an investigation revealed the presence of Methanol in the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) cargoes of the companies.