– Warn of massive fuel queues
Lagos — Oil marketers under the aegis of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) have threatened that Nigeria could witness ‘the mother of all fuel queues’ from next week if the Federal Government does not pay the 12 months bridging claims being owed operators in the downstream oil sector.
IPMAN which controls about 70% of the filling stations across the country have also denied claims by the Federal Government that the oil marketers have been paid N74 billion as bridging claims for the transportation of petroleum products.
It will be recalled that on Wednesday, the Federal Government through its Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority said it paid N74bn as bridging claims to oil marketers for the transportation of petroleum products across the country in seven months.
The NMDPRA in a statement it issued in Abuja stated that So far, the authority paid N71,233,712,991 bridging claims and another N2,736,179,950.84 freight differentials to marketers as at June 6, 2022. It disclosed this while reacting to allegations made by IPMAN, Suleja Branch, that the scarcity of petroleum products in Nigeria was due to the non-payment of bridging claims.
Reacting, however, to the federal government’s claim, dealers under the aegis of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria have described the said payment as false.
According to reports, this was made known by the Secretary, Abuja-Suleja IPMAN, Mohammed Shuaibu, during an interview on Thursday. Mohammed Shuaibu, whose unit covers Abuja, Kogi, Niger and parts of Nasarawa and Kaduna, disputed the claims of the Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) on the payments of bridging claims.
He challenged the NMDPRA Chief Executive, Farouk Ahmed, to reveal the names of the marketers the government paid the N74 billion to as well as show documents to prove that.
The IPMAN official while referring to the NMDPRA boss said, “He (Ahmed) alleged he has paid marketers N74bn right? We have accused him of sabotaging our efforts by not paying us our bridging claims and that is the fact.
“Since he claims to have paid, we are not arguing but we challenge him to come out and name the marketers that he paid. Let him explain from A to Z. Let him bring out the documents. If you say you have paid our members N74bn, and we say we’ve not been paid, then come out and explain to the public’’
“Anyway, by the time we down-tool fully within the next one week, he will explain to the public and the presidency how the situation got to that level, because this one is going to lead to the mother of all queues.”
“You are owing a marketer, for example, N30m or N20m, you paid him N150,000 or N200,000 and you now go on air to say you have paid the marketer. Is there any justification to that effect?,” He added.
He said the indebtedness to marketers was way beyond N50bn, adding that IPMAN had been raising the alarm because many of its members were shutting down operations due to their inability to continue in business.
He said, “By the time we down-tool, it will be massive because the nine depots in the North and other marketers are now itching to come out with their own claims. They are ready to join in solidarity and may be by that time the government will know if we are joking or not.’’
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