One Dead As Petrol Protests Spread In Iran

Iranian protesters block a road during a demonstration against an increase in gasoline prices in the central city of Shiraz on November 16, 2019.


One person was killed and others injured in protests that spread Saturday across Iran after a surprise decision to impose petrol price hikes and rationing in the sanctions-hit country.

The death occurred Friday in the central city of Sirjan, where protesters had tried to set a fuel depot ablaze but were thwarted by security forces, semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

Protests erupted hours after it was announced the price of petrol would be increased by 50 percent for the first 60 litres and 300 percent for anything above that each month.

Sirjan’s acting governor Mohammad Mahmoudabadi said a civilian was killed but it was unclear if he had been “shot or not”.

“Security forces did not have permission to shoot and were only allowed to fire warning shots… which they did,” ISNA quoted him as saying.

He said some people “destroyed public property, damaged fuel stations and also wanted to access the oil company’s main fuel depots and set fire to them”.

Protests were also held Friday in other cities including Abadan, Ahvaz, Bandar Abbas, Birjand, Gachsaran, Khoramshahr, Mahshahr, Mashhad and Shiraz, state news agency IRNA said.

In Ahvaz “rioters” torched a bank and in Khoramshahr “suspicious and unknown armed individuals” opened fire and injured a number of people, state television’s website said.

In other cities, protests were mostly limited to blocking traffic and were over by midnight, it added.

Police fired tear gas at protesters in some cities, state television said.

It accused “hostile media” of trying to use fake news and videos on social media to exaggerate protests as “large and extensive”.

Prosecutor general Mohammad Jafar Montazeri laid the blame for incidents on a “few disruptors” whose actions showed they opposed the system.

‘Near-total’ net shutdown 

Netblocks, an internet monitoring website, said late Saturday the country was in the grip of an internet shutdown.

“Confirmed: Iran is now in the midst of a near-total national internet shutdown; realtime network data show connectivity at 7% of ordinary levels after twelve hours of progressive network disconnections,” it said on Twitter.

Fresh demonstrations were held Saturday in the cities of Doroud, Garmsar, Gorgan, Ilam, Karaj, Khoramabad, Mehdishahr, Qazvin, Qom, Sanandaj, Shahroud and Shiraz, IRNA said.

“Some drivers have protested the new petrol price by turning off their cars and creating traffic jams.”

In Tehran protesters were seen blocking a road while elsewhere in the capital demonstrators gathered around a burning vehicle.

Similar scenes were witnessed in the central cities of Shiraz and Isfahan.

The pump price hike is expected to generate 300 trillion rials ($2.55 billion) per annum and help needy citizens, authorities said.

About 60 million Iranians would receive payments ranging from 550,000 rials ($4.68) for couples to slightly more than two million rials ($17.46) for families of five or more.

Under the scheme, drivers with fuel cards would pay 15,000 rials (13 US cents) a litre for the first 60 litres of petrol bought each month, with each additional litre costing 30,000 rials.

Fuel cards were first introduced in 2007 with a view to reforming the subsidies system and curbing large-scale smuggling.

Iran’s economy has been battered since May last year when President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from a 2015 nuclear agreement and reimposed crippling sanctions.

The rial has plummeted, inflation is running at more than 40 percent and the International Monetary Fund expects Iran’s economy to contract by nine percent this year and stagnate in 2020.

‘Under Pressure’

President Hassan Rouhani said 75 percent of Iranians were “under pressure” and the extra petrol revenues would go to them.

Rouhani had tried to hike fuel prices in December but was blocked by parliament after protests that rocked Iran for days.

The scheme comes at a sensitive time as Iran prepares for a February parliamentary election.

The head of Iran’s Planning and Budget Organisation, Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, said the price hike was agreed by the High Council of Economic Coordination made up of the president, parliament speaker and judiciary chief, implying it had across-the-board approval.

The council met again Saturday and, according to the government’s official website, urged the “cooperation of all branches to successfully implement the plan”.

Lawmakers were unhappy to have been circumvented, with Tehran MP Parvaneh Salahshouri tweeting that parliament had “lost its authority”.

In 2015, during his first term, Rouhani had voiced opposition to a dual-price petrol regime adopted by his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying “it caused corruption”.

His administration also scrapped Ahmadinejad’s fuel card scheme, only to revive it this year while still denying it was a precursor to rationing and price hikes.

Two Killed In Oyo Petrol Tanker Explosion


Two persons have been confirmed dead in a blaze after a tanker laden with petrol skidded off the Ibadan end of the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway.

The police authorities in Oyo State confirmed the incident to Channels Television on Thursday.

According to them, the tanker spilled its content into a nearby intersection while an unconfirmed number of people sustained burns of various degrees.

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The accident occurred at Onipepeye area, along Iwo Road in Ibadan, the state capital.

An eyewitness explained that some people rushed to the scene and started scooping fuel from the tanker shortly after it skidded off.

However, an attempt to start a broken-down vehicle nearby was said to have ignited the areas around the spill, causing the tanker to explode.

See more photos below:

PPPRA Reacts To ‘Sudden Re-Appearance Of Queues’ At Filling Stations

PPPRA Reacts To 'Sudden Re-Appearance Of Queues' At Filling Stations


The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has reacted to what it described as the sudden re-appearance of queues at some filling stations in the country.

In a statement on Sunday by its Executive Secretary, Abdulkadir Saidu, the PPPRA attributed the queues to speculation of a shortfall in the supply of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol.

It noted that has continued to monitor products supply in the petroleum sector, in line with best practices.

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The agency explained that this was in line with its mandate to regulate petroleum products supply and distribution, as well as establish an industry data bank.

It disclosed that the average daily supply of petrol for the year 2017, 2018 and 2019 were about 46 million, 54 million and 56 million litres respectively.

According to PPPRA, the figures indicate an improved level of supply in 2019.

Based on the available data, it affirmed that there was an adequate supply of PMS with more than 21 days sufficiency.

“PPPRA, therefore, urges fuel consumers across the country to desist from panic buying as the agency would continue to monitor the supply situation and take every step required to ensure that there is no disruption in the supply chain,” the statement said.

The agency gave assurance that there was adequate product supply in the system to meet the demands of consumers.

Death Toll In Gombe Petrol Tanker Explosion Rises To 16

Death Toll In Gombe Petrol Tanker Explosion Rises To 16


The number of those killed in a petrol tanker explosion in Gombe State has risen to 16.

The Assistant Director of Nurses at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe, Musa Gyade, confirmed this to Channels Television on Sunday.

Eleven people were initially confirmed dead with several others injured on Saturday after the tanker exploded along the Gombe-Biu bypass.

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The tanker, said to be laden with petrol, was said to have had a brake failure and rammed into a truck loaded with bottled water, crushing two motorcycles and two tricycles in the process.

Giving an update on the incident, Gyade disclosed that 20 other victims sustained various degrees of burns.

He, however, said they were already receiving medical attention at both the Federal Teaching Hospital and the State Specialist Hospital in Gombe.

The assistant director explained that 23 people were brought to the hospital, out of which three of them died while being treated and two more deaths were later recorded.

Elsewhere, the Medical Director of the State Specialist Hospital, Dr Shu’aibu Mu’azu, told Channels Television that 11 bodies were brought to the hospital.

He added that four of them were recognised and handed over to their relatives, but no one has come to claim the remaining seven bodies as they were burnt beyond recognition.

No Need For Panic Buying, Over 1bn Litres Of Petrol In Stock – NNPC

No Need For Panic Buying, Over 1bln Litres Of Petrol In Stock – NNPC


The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has again appealed to Nigerians to ignore the report of an impending scarcity of petrol in the country.

It made the appeal on Thursday in a statement by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu.

NNPC explained that the said report was sponsored by mischief makers who intended to create undue panic in the prevailing sanity in the fuel supply and distribution matrix across the country.

READ ALSO: Report Any Station Selling Petrol Above N145, NNPC Tells Nigerians

It insisted that the report of an impending fuel scarcity due to the purported refusal by some oil marketers to lift products from depots was “fake news”.

The corporation, however, disclosed that over one billion litres of petrol were in stock while imports of 48 vessels of 50 million litres each have been committed for the month of April alone.

It further gave assurance that there was no need for panic buying or hoarding of petroleum products in anticipation of scarcity.

NNPC also said the approved pump price of petrol remained N145 per litre.

Oil Workers Arrested In Kenya Over Missing Petrol

The director of the Kenya Pipeline Company and four others have been arrested after millions of liters of petrol went missing in dubious circumstances, police said on Friday.

On October, 10 leading fuel marketers demanded an independent audit of KPC’s stock, suspecting up to 20 million liters had gone missing, with much of it falsely declared as “spillage”, and believed to have been stolen.

“We have five KPC officers including (managing director Joe) Sang in custody and we are processing them for their appearance in court,” said a senior detective involved in the arrest, who asked not to be named.

He said the official charges would be announced later.

The petroleum ministry confirmed the “arrest of the top management” in a statement, naming an interim managing director on Friday.

The government-owned KPC is tasked with overseeing the transport of imported fuel from coastal Mombasa to the rest of the country.

In an audit report before the Senate energy committee, company officials said 7.2 million liters of fuel had been lost to spillage, while another 4.4 million liters had been stolen.

However, oil marketers believe the true figures could be much higher.

Claims of false spillage reports have dogged KPC, with the latest accusations covering the past two years.

In a statement on Tuesday, the KPC board said oil marketers had been given until December 31 to carry out their own forensic stock audit.

The missing oil scandal is one of several that have erupted recently at KPC. Corruption accusations are also swirling around the construction of a new Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline, which has been hit by delays and allegations of inflated costs.

The arrests are the latest in a rare string of high-profile detentions of officials implicated in corruption in the graft-wracked nation.


Clashes As Thousands Protest Petrol Price Hikes In Bulgaria

A protestor holds the Bulgarian national flag while blocking a central boulevard during a protest against high fuel prices in Sofia on November 11, 2018. Thousands of Bulgarians demonstrated across the country against high fuel prices, blocking traffic in around 20 cities and on key highways to Greece and Turkey. STR / AFP


Thousands of Bulgarians demonstrated across the country on Sunday against high fuel prices, blocking traffic in around 20 cities and on key highways to Greece and Turkey.

Protesters clashed with police in Burgas, where traffic was backed up around 10 kilometres (six miles) at several entry points to the Black Sea town, public radio BNR reported.

In the capital, Sofia around 1,000 demonstrators rallied outside the government offices shouting “Rubbish” and “Resign”.

“How can they sell petrol here at the same prices as in Spain and Luxembourg when we are the poorest country in the European Union?” asked taxi driver Ivan Naydenov.

A litre of petrol or diesel fuel costs around 2.40 leva ($1.13/1.2 euros), or $5.15 per gallon, after rising five per cent from August to October, in a country where the average salary is 575 euros per month.

Motorists are also paying higher taxes on polluting vehicles and higher prices for heating fuel.

Three major motorways and many smaller roads were closed for hours, impeding traffic in the southwest towards Greece, in the south towards Turkey and in the north of the country.

The police union issued a statement Sunday in support of the protests.

Ruling party lawmaker Emil Dimitrov accused the socialist opposition of being behind the protests organised through social media.

The head of the Federation of distributors of petrol and gas, Andrei Delchev, said Sunday that prices would start to go down in line with global trends.

“Expectations that international prices will rise after the imposition of US sanctions against Iran are unjustified,” he said.

The conservative government of Boyko Borisov says its fuel taxes are the lowest in the EU.

Protesters say the Russian company Lukoil has a near monopoly as the owner of the only oil refinery in Bulgaria and is in control of fuel depots.


Kaduna Residents Cry Out As Petrol Stations Sell Above N145


Residents of Kaduna state have cried out to the government over the alleged refusal of some petrol marketers to sell the product at the approved pump price of N145 per litre.

Speaking to Channels Television’s correspondent in the state on Saturday, some residents said despite the increase in the daily supply of petrol to Kaduna state and environs by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and the warning by the Department of Petroluem Resources (DPR) to sanction any marketer selling above N145 per litre, the product is still being sold as high as N190 per litre in some stations.

They also expressed frustration that despite not benefiting from lower global oil prices, they were still being short-changed by adjusted pumps by marketers.

Responding to the complaints, the Department of Petroleum Resources said that it was fully aware of the situation and the agency had caught and sanctioned over 10 petrol stations for various offences ranging from hoarding, under dispensing and selling above pump price.

DPR Zonal Controller in Kaduna state, Isa Tafida, who led the operation warned marketers to stick to the official pump price to make life easy for Nigerians or have their licenses withdrawn.

He said it was possible for oil marketers to sell petrol at the approved price and still make a decent profit, instead of indulging in sharp practices.

“You know that Hunkuyi is over one hundred kilometres away from Kaduna, so they are taking advantage of the remote location of this particular area to be selling above pump price.

“They were caught by our surveillance team selling a litre of petrol for N190 and they have about 13,000 litres underground selling to the public.

“So we locked up the station, now we are here to open it so that we can sell the product to the public.

“They are cheating members of the public on the price and also on the quantity. So I am calling on other marketers to know that they can’t take advantage of the location to hike the price, we are everywhere. There is no hidden place for any marketer to sell above pump price and we won’t catch him. Apart from sealing the station, the company must also pay a penalty of N100,000 per pump,” he said.

While relative stability gradually returns and queues at filling stations are reduced, many believe that one major to way to bring a stop to the issues is for the government to revive the country’s refineries.

DPR To Raid Filling Stations Hoarding Petrol In Kano


The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Kano North West Nigeria is set to commence a special operation to raid fuel stations selling at night and above government regulated pump price.

Although the department is yet to identify marketers allegedly diverting the product, officials say they are collaborating with the DSS and other relevant security agencies to carry out night raids as part of efforts to end the crisis.

Kano state and other states of the federation have been struggling to get rid of the current fuel crisis that resulted in an untold hardship to motorists.

From six to eight trucks at the beginning of the crisis, the DPR, Buba Abubakar, said it has received 18 trucks since Friday and more will be delivered in the next coming days.

Although petrol queues have resurfaced in Kano metropolis, however, the DPR monitoring team has returned its offensive on those hoarding, selling at night and above the approved pump price.

For now, the DPR could not disclose the locations identified to have been selling the product either illegally or above the regulated price but the department assured Kano residents that soon enough the crisis of petrol will become a thing of the past.

NNPC Asks Oil Marketers To Make Life Easy For Nigerians

NNPC Asks Oil Marketers To Make Life Easy For Nigerians
File photo: Maikanti Baru


The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has called on petroleum products marketers to make life easy for Nigerians.

NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, who said this on Wednesday in Abuja, asked the marketers to stick to the N145 per litre approved pump price for petrol.

He gave the charge while presenting a commendation letter to the Managing Director of BOVAS and Company Ltd, for consistently selling petrol at the regulated price.

Baru noted that NNPC was fully convinced that it was possible for oil marketers to sell petrol at the approved price and still make a decent profit, urging other marketers to emulate BOVAS.

According to him, the Corporation decided to recognise the company and its Managing Director, Mrs Victoria Samson, for helping the government to make life easy for the people.

“It is on record that you have consistently demonstrated not only your ability to supply products to the market, but also to do so within the government-controlled price of N145 per litre,” the GMD said in a statement by the NNPC spokesman, Mr Ndu Ughamadu.

“You are even matching the NNPC Retail price by selling at N143 per litre; that is quite commendable. By doing what she does, Mrs Samson has been making life much easier for Nigerians; that is why we gave her a Commendation Letter as well as a plaque to recognise her efforts,” he added.

The NNPC boss further assured the company of the corporation’s support with necessary interventions to ensure effective supply of petroleum products in its areas of operation.

In her response, Mrs Samson informed Baru that her filling stations nationwide have maintained the N145 regulated price for petrol, even during the periods of supply shortage.

“Without a doubt, this gesture will spur me to further do my best and continue to supply products at affordable prices for the benefit of all Nigerians,” an elated Samson said.

She added that the company would continue to work with the NNPC and relevant agencies, not only to sell petroleum products at approved prices without diversion but also to resolve the current fuel crisis.

DPR Seals Three Fuel Stations For Allegedly Diverting Trucks Of Petrol

Over Pricing: DPR Seals 19 Petrol Stations In Maiduguri
File photo


The Department of Petroleum Resources has shut down three fuel stations in Cross River State as part of its efforts to ensure the seamless supply of petroleum products in the country.

All three fuel stations, in different parts of the state, were sealed during the week for allegedly diverting three trucks of fuel meant to be sold in the state.

DPR’s Controller of Operations in charge of Cross River State, Mr Bassey Nkanga, said the fuel stations were in Calabar – the state capital, Obudu Local Government Area and Ogoja Local Government Area.

Long fuel queues are gradually disappearing in Calabar, following the increased supply of petroleum products to marketers.

To ensure that the fuel gets to the target consumers, the DPR intensified its surveillance in the state.

It was as a result of the decision that the erring stations were identified and sealed, according to Nkanga.

Beyond monitoring the stations to ensure petroleum products are not diverted, Nkanga said the surveillance would also ensure that petrol is sold at the official rate of N145 per litre.

He called on motorists and other users of the product not to buy and store petrol in their houses for safety purposes.

He added that the government was doing everything possible to bring back normalcy in petroleum product supply.

FG Not Increasing Fuel Price From N145 – Kachikwu

FG Not Increasing Fuel Price From N145 – Kachikwu
Ibe Kachikwu


The Federal Government has allayed the fear of purported increment in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly known as petrol, from N145 per litre.

Addressing reporters on Friday in Abuja, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, asked Nigerians to ignore such reports with an assurance that fuel pump price remains unchanged.

He also criticised those circulating the speculations saying they were being unfair to Nigerians following the difficulty they had gone through during the yuletide.

READ ALSO: PDP Warns FG, APC Against Purported Fuel Price Hike

“We are not increasing price from N145,” said Kachikwu. “I thought we should make this very clear, this is not a matter for speculation; anybody who does speculation is not being helpful to Nigerians.”

“They’ve gone through a very difficult Christmas period. We are working night and day to try and find solutions,” he added.

The minister further said the fuel crisis should not be politicised but rather, the people should support the government’s effort to ensure the nation overcomes the challenge.

He said: “It is not a political issue, people should step out of that goalpost. We want to provide succour to Nigerians, we want to provide product at N145 – that is the presidential mandate, that is the Federal Executive Council mandate; nobody is having a deliberation on that.”

Working Refineries Solution To Fuel Crisis, Says Kachikwu

Kachikwu also briefed journalists on the issues discussed in the past few days at the stakeholders’ meeting which was convened to find a lasting solution to Nigeria’s fuel challenges.

“The essence of our meeting yesterday (Thursday) and the essence of the committee’s meeting which began a few days ago, is to find mechanisms to ensure that queues do not come back to Nigeria,” he said.

“That there is a wetting of all the stations so there’s product available every time for Nigerians, that private marketers who had pulled out of participation – that we deal with their problems so that they can participate effectively in the supply of refined petroleum products in the country; all within the parameters of the N145 pump price,” he added.