22 March 2014, Abuja – The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria on Friday warned that the tussle for power in the association by a group led by one of its expelled members may lead to disruption in the supply of fuel across Nigeria if the development persists.
Although the association called on its members to disregard claims of the Chief Obasi Lawson-led group, it urged law enforcement agents and authorities in the sector to wade into the matter in order to halt any fracas that may disrupt petroleum supply.
Briefing newsmen in Abuja, the National President, IPMAN, Mr. Aminu Abdulkadir, accused Lawson of parading himself as an executive member of the association and spreading false information that were capable of plunging the country into another round of fuel scarcity.
“We want to call all our members in the country to disregard such moves that are capable of causing disruption in the supply of product in this country, because we’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that we achieve seamless supply,” Abdulkadir said.
Asked to explain how the tussle for the leadership of the association by Lawson would affect fuel supply across Nigeria, Abdulkadir said, “when you pass false information to unsuspecting members that a setup within which they access their product is no longer there, then nobody is going to pay money to any terminal to lift product because of that confusion.
“When somebody tells you that zones are not in existence or depots through which we release our products are not in existence, then how do you accept the products? So that is how their action is capable of derailing these achievements that we made in ensuring product supply.”
Abdulkadir said the case was in court and noted that the member in question was disciplined by the national body of the association.
He said, “There is a pending court order restraining Chief Obasi Lawson in particular from parading himself as a national executive of IPMAN. Yet he still goes about to other courts, like the one he obtained in Port Harcourt that the court has appointed him as president.
“This is not the practice in IPMAN. Our practice is that you cannot be president unless through election and his cannot be different. I heard him yesterday saying that he is going to make products available. I don’t know from which source and who is, because as far as we are concerned he is an expelled member. Notice of appeal has been filed against the order he got from Port Harcourt and stay of execution has been issued. So if he is a law abiding citizen, he is not expected to make any further move.”
Abdulkadir said Lawson was the former zonal chairman of IPMAN in the eastern zone and alleged that the expelled member organised illegal meetings in his zone and incited other members against the national body.
He said the development was costing the association its integrity.
He said “If this development is not checked it can lead to serious disruption because I can tell you that through that action, IPMAN members that heard that news yesterday (Thursday) will not place order for lifting of products today (Friday). But we want our members to know that they can pay in money and lift their products without having issues.”
On the subsidy payment to marketers, the IPMAN president said the ministry of finance had released about N41bn to marketers and expressed the hope that the ministry would pay the balance.
He said, “All the money that was owed us as at that time, including those of the major marketers was about N151bn. But government has been able to redeem N41bn and I think they are processing our documents to pay the outstanding.”
Efforts to reach Mr. Obasi at the time of filing this report were not successful as his telephone line did not connect.
– The Punch