Petrol Crisis Must End Tomorrow—DSS


STAKEHOLDERS in the petrol distribution chain got a marching order yesterday from the Department of State Services (DSS).

They must end the lingering petrol scarcity in two days, failing which the appropriate action would be applied.

The DSS spokesman, Dr. Peter Afunnaya, who handed down the 48-hour ultimatum, said the agency decided to wade in the petrol distribution confusion in national interest.

Nigerians have been buying the product above the regulated price of between N165 and N170 per litre, especially at filling stations belonging to members of the Independent Marketers Association (IPMAN).

The association, which alleged discrimination against its members in sourcing foreign exchange (forex), claimed that selling petrol at approved pump price will send them out of business.

They argued that they source forex at black market rates, whereas their Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) counterpart have assess at official rate.

But the DSS spokesman said the Service could not fold its arms to allow some individuals or group to destabilise the country.

He spoke with reporters in Abuja after a meeting between the stakeholders and the leadership of the DSS.

Afunnaya said the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) assured that it has about 1.9 billion litres of petrol in stock that can last for the period of Yuletide and beyond.

He said that after the expiration of the ultimatum, the Department would commence a nationwide operation to ensure that the products are made available.

Afunnaya said: “It is the mandate of the Service to detect and prevent threat to national security. This is why the Service has to summon the stakeholders’ meeting in the oil and gas sector to find a lasting solution to the problem before it snowballs into crisis.

“The stakeholders at the meeting included the NNPCL, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), IPMAN, MOMAN, Depot Operators and National Association of Transport Owners (NATO) among others.

“There is an agreement that marketers will be operating for 24 hours on daily basis and that tankers owners said all hands will be on deck to ensure lifting of the products.

“IPMAN has also committed itself to ensure that the product is available for 24 hours daily. The NNPC Limited disclosed that it has over 1.9 billion litres of PMS in stock and also agreed to sell the products at official ex-depot price to all oil marketers nationwide.

He said: “For us at the DSS, we agreed to provide adequate security for fuel distribution. Therefore, we insisted that the fuel distribution must improve and all challenges eliminated in 48 hours and after 48 hours, we will as a matter of urgency carry out operations across the country. And in doing this, we won’t mind whose ox is gored.

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