Reps Give NNPC one Week Ultimatum to end Fuel Scarcity

Paschal Emeka, Abuja

The House of Representatives has given the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited a one-week ultimatum to end the lingering fuel scarcity in the country to mitigate the sufferings of Nigerians.

Recall that the Department of State Services, DSS, last Thursday handed NNPC and the stakeholders in the downstream sector 48 hours ultimatum to put an end to the lingering fuel scarcity across the country.

This latest ultimatum is a sequel to a motion of urgent public importance moved by the Hon. Saidu Musa Abdullahi during plenary on Tuesday, in Abuja.

In a motion titled ‘urgent need for the government to end the current fuel scarcity’ Hon. Musa Abdullahi noted that in the last few months, Nigerians have been subjected to untold hardships caused by the lingering petrol scarcity; affecting economic activities and making the already trying times in the country more difficult

He further noted “that the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) advanced excuses to justify the fuel scarcity. Firstly, when the scarcity reared its ugly head at the peak of the rainy season in October this year, NMDPRA said “the fuel scarcity in Abuja and other northern states was caused by rainfall which submerged the greater part of Lokoja including the highway leading to Abuja, a development that grounded all vehicular movements along that route.

“Aware that soon after floods/rains receded in Lokoja and the petrol scarcity continued, the President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), said the situation has continued to persist because of the supply gap created by the blockade in Lokoja. The IPMAN affirmed that there were enough products in the depots and that the lingering scarcity was only caused by the break in supply of the product.

“When the scarcity continued, and all the excuses advanced by the stakeholders were watered down, the National Operations Controller of IPMAN advanced another reason and argued that the scarcity is because of an unsteady supply of the products.

He expressed concern that Intelligence reports on current fuel scarcity gathered by our securities agencies indicated that there is a deliberate plan by some oil marketers to derail the effort of the government in the distribution of fuel in the country by hoarding the petroleum products and thereby creating artificial scarcity all over the country.

He further expressed concern that while the fuel scarcity is hitting petroleum stations operated by some major marketers that are currently selling fuel at government-regulated prices, some independent marketers who operate in the Market have enough petroleum products selling at unregulated prices.

He was also worried that most of those fuel stations have resulted in selling fuel at over N300 per liter and observed with dismay that those who are gaining from this artificial fuel scarcity appear to be smiling home as a result of this ugly development and this has the potency to provoke innocent Nigerians against the Government

“Generally, there is a hue and cry over this ugly development and unfortunately, those that are charged with the responsibility of taking control of this situation are not doing enough to combat the ugly development. This appears to be a dangerous signal that the government must tackle without further delay to restore normalcy.

He also noted that the lingering fuel scarcity has compounded the woes of millions of Nigerians struggling to survive as prices of items continue to make a rapid surge and added a high cost of living to Nigerians which he said surged to a 17-year high of 21.09 percent in October this year

According to him, “the inability of the regulators of the petroleum sector to end this artificial scarcity of petroleum products forced the Department of State Security Services to issue an ultimatum to the NNPC, and oil marketers to end the artificial scarcity within 48 hours

The House consequently resolved to urgently call on the NNPC to end this artificial scarcity within the next week to ease the suffering of Nigerians.

They also urge the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to seek the collaboration of the Nigerian Police Force and DSSS to ensure that fuel is sold at the regulated price and in all retail outlets and mandate the Committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance

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