…Kachikwu says no evidence to arrest defaulting marketers
03 January 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal Government and stakeholders in the nation’s oil and gas industry on Tuesday inaugurated a committee saddled with the responsibility of finding long-term solutions to petrol scarcity in the country.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, who disclosed this to reporters after a closed door meeting involving government officials, labour leaders and stakeholders in the oil sector, assured that the Federal Government is working hard to find a lasting solution to seasonal lapses in the availability of fuel in the country.
The meeting, which was presided over by the Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari, wss held at the old Banquet hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Kachikwu, who is to head the committee, said members of the committee included the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru and representatives of agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum.
According to him, membership of the committee also include Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), labour unions, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) and Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).
“We set up a committee which I will head; members included the GMD, most of the parastatals in the ministry, DAPPMA, IPMAN, NOMAN, Labour unions. We are to meet in my office tomorrow (Jan. 3) and dig deeper into this thing and find a long term solution,” he said.
Kachikwu noted that petrol scarcity was a major concern and Nigerians should not be made to suffer, assuring that the committee would come out with lasting solution to the persistent petrol crisis in the country.
He reiterated that appropriate sanctions would be taken against any marketer or staff implicated in fuel diversion or any act capable of frustrating government’s efforts aimed at stabilising the supply of petroleum products across the country.
“I feel your pain. People who are culprits will be identified. In fact the chief of staff instructed that specific names should be put on the table, those who have gone against the rule, done certain things that are against the book should be punished.
“But the greatest difficult in Nigeria is that people make allegations but when you ask for evidence even one, everybody now goes back into the safety nets. You cannot prosecute except you have evidence.”
Reacting to promises made by President Buhari that those found guilty of hoarding products and contributing to the hardship of Nigerians would be punished, Kachikwu said that may be hard to accomplish in the face of lack of evidence.
In the meantime, the Chairman of Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMA), Mr. Dapo Abiodun, has denied accusations made by the Group Managing Director of the NNPC about a deliberate plot by oil marketers to hoard products, even as he explained that the meeting was called at the instance of the Chief of Staff to the president and it was to find out exactly what happened.
“He wanted to know the truth and to ensure that this problem will be solved once and for all. From our point of view as marketers, we made our submission known to government and we emphasized the fact that this was not a marketer-related problem.
“There was no hoarding on the part of any marketer. Marketers are your brothers, they are Nigerian citizens, they are businessmen, no marketer makes money from hoarding petroleum products, our business is to take petrol and sell,” he explained.