Alison-Madueke visits Lagos fuel stations, accuses marketers of products diversion

OPEC Oil MeetingYemie Adeoye 10 March 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, at the weekend embarked on monitoring of fuel depots and stations across Lagos as part of efforts at restoring sanity in the nation’s fuel supply and distribution network.

The move came as fuel scarcity bit harder across the nation, with petrol selling far above the official N97 per litre price of the product.

A statement by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, said Mrs. Alison-Madueke began the visit on Saturday afternoon at the precincts of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja on arrival from a mission to Houston, US. This took her to fuel stations in Mafoloku, Ajao estate, Bariga and Ikoyi .

The statement signed by Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, acting group general manager, Group Public Affairs at the NNPC stated that the minister was accompanied by heads of some agencies under the Petroleum Ministry namely, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, a subsidiary of the NNPC.

The minister had extended interactions with commuters, motorists, fuel pump attendants as well managers of service stations.

The exercise continued on Sunday with visit to fuel stations at Surulere, through the Lekki-Aja Victoria Island axis.

Speaking after the inspection tour, Mrs. Alison-Madueke stated that the Federal Government will apply full sanctions against any oil marketer or petroleum product dealer found culpable in the hoarding or diversion of petroleum products.

She noted that findings indicate that the challenge may not be that of lack of petroleum product but the case of willful diversion of products by some truck drivers.

“Having gone round the state yesterday and today I can see that normalcy is fast returning as it is not just the filling stations in Ikoyi that are wet with products but also those in the mainland and far locations like Ajah.

“Having said that, it appears there are lots of factors militating against efficient delivery of fuel. We learnt for example that some tanker drivers were changing the number plates of their trucks after lpading to make it difficult for tracking. This is obviously being done to aid diversion of products from areas that are meant to receive them to other areas, ” the minister said.

She stated that to deal with the situation she has issued directives to relevant parastatals in the Petroleum Ministry to arrest the trend.
 “I have directed the heads of the agencies, DPR, PPMC and PPPRA, to get back to me today and give me a clear picture and timeline in terms of numbers of trucks coming in to Lagos, the volumes and where they are getting to in terms of the market.
“I want to establish that there is diversion. If we can establish there is, I want to know when and how this is being done. They need to supply me how these trucks are being tracked because diversion is not easy to do. The perpetrators will be sanctioned and I’m ready to publish names of anybody that may be involved,” she stated.
The minister however assured Nigerians that there are enough products in strategic reserves to meet demand for petroleum products. She noted that the Federal Government has no plan to increase the price of pms for now.
In a related development, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Engr. Andrew Yakubu, also led a team of the corporation’s top management on a similar inspection  tour of filling stations across the Federal Capital Territory over the weekend.
Engr. Yakubu and his team visited over a dozen fuel stations across Garki, Asokoro, Maitama as well as Central Business District of Abuja while pledging to extend the exercise to other areas of the Federal Capital Territory in the days ahead.
The GMD noted that the NNPC has increased fuel supply to the FCT by increasing the number of truck allocation from the Suleja depot to Abuja and its environs to decimate the noticeable queues in fuel stations.
“Ordinarily we about 100 trucks into Abuja but with this intervention we have increased it to 150 trucks per day,’’ he said.
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