Yenagoa-Long queues yesterday resurfaced in filling stations in Yenagoa and its environs as members of the National Union of Petroleum and Gas (NUPENG) stopped supply of petroleum products to the state in protest over the seizure of a petroleum tanker by the Bayelsa police command.
Even the NNPC mega filling station was not dispensing fuel at press time as tankers were seen parked by the side of the road leading to the complex.
Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Bayelsa chapter, Chief Ejimejiwo Unless-God told newsmen in Yenagoa that the National chapter of NUPENG gave the directive following the refusal of the Bayelsa police command to release a seized petroleum tanker.
Representatives of the IPMAN and DPR in Bayelsa he said had gone to the police to explain that the seized petrol tanked was not in any way involved in diversion of the product, yet the police refuse to release the tanker arrested with six members.
Also speaking on the development, Chairman of PENGASSAN, DPR Port Harcourt chapter, Mr. Tonte Minaibiye said he had personally visited the state CID to explain to the police that marketers can buy products from independent depot and supply to any filling station.
He said the issue of diversion can only come when a marketer purchase a product from the NNPC Depot and fail to supply to the designated fuel station, adding that “the police is only trying to usurp the functions of the DPR.”
The PENGASSAN boss said the marketer arrested since last week Thursday purchased the product from Master Energy Tank Farm in Port Harcourt and was heading to deliver the product in Amassoma in the Southern-Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa when it was intercepted and arrested at the Tombia junction by the Bayelsa police.
The police he noted insisted that since the weigh bill is reading Yola as destination, it is therefore diversion which is not the case since the product was purchased from an independent depot.
Contacted, the Bayelsa police PRO, Mr. Eguaveon Emokpai (ASP) confirmed that a petroleum tanker was impounded by men of the state police command over diversion and investigation was going-on at the state CID.
Commenting on the development, the state Operation Comptroller of DPR, Dr. Duncan Eradiri said he personally called the AC CID to inform him that the incident does not fall under diversion because the law permits that one can purchase petroleum product from independent depot and sell anywhere.
“You can only talk of diversion when you purchase from NNPC depot and you head to outside the destination in your weigh bill,” he said.
As at press time, the impounded petroleum tanker XL 143 UWN was seen parked at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad Office along Road Safety road while six members of the Independent Marketers were still in detention.