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Thursday, 15 March 2018

IPMAN threatens to shut down 2,000 filling stations in two states




The Independent Petrol Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Calabar
depot have threatened to shut down over 2, 000 filling stations in Cross River and
Akwa Ibom state following non supply of petroleum products to their members.
National President, Independent Petrol Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Alhaji
Aminu Abdullahi (left) the Chairman, Import Committee of IPMAN, Mr. Felanle
Mohammed (centre) and the Vice President of IPMAN, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo (right)
during the ongoing Fuel Subsidy Probe at the National Assembly Complex in Abuja
Wednesday. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan
This was made known on Wednesday when the leadership of the union embarked on
protest at Calabar Depot and CFTZ against what they describes as “undue
marginalisation” in the distribution of products by depot private operators..
Vanguard gathered that members of IPMAN in both states have been completely
sidelined in the distribution of petrol, PMS, kerosene, DPK, and diesel, AGO, by NNPC
and over 22 tank farms and major marketers.
Vanguard also learned that since November last year 90 per cent of their members
don’t have access to the products rather they are made to buy through middlemen,
thereby leading to scarcity and high cost of the petroleum products.
A source who pleaded anonymity told Vanguard that the private depot prefer selling to
middlemen who in turn sell to the marketers.
The source said: There are over 27 private tank farms located in Calabar and they sell
between N137 and N140 per litre to middlemen, then independent marketers buy from
them at between N160 and N180 per litre minus other minor charges, making it
difficult to sell at government approved pump price.
Speaking with Vanguard the chairman of IPMAN, Calabar depot,Mr. Lawrence Agim
alleged that there was a lot of compromise in Cross River and Akwa Ibom as some
people are trying to make sure that they(IPMAN) was completely cut off
Agim said: “We decided to embark on protest across the entire depots in Calabar Free
Trade Zone, CFTZ, and NNPC Depot after our several representations about our
marginalisation fell on deaf ears, we had no other choice but they embark on a
peaceful protest to register our grievances because we have been segregated and
sidelined.
“We are surprised at what is happening at Calabar Depot, they prefer selling to private
depots where they can do “business”. We are licensed marketers; we have our bulk
agreement with NNPC, have filling stations and entitled to be allocated fuel to service
our outlets in Cross River and Akwa Ibom.
“The irony is that the whole public is filling that IPMAN is the problem; we are not
because we are not given product here to sell. In most cases we buy these products at
outrageous prices ranging between N130 and N190 per litre at private depots.
“Therefore, it would be difficult to buy at exorbitant prices and sell at N145. And if
they fail to sell to us we might be compelled to shut down over 2, 000 filling stations
belonging to our members in both states.
“Calabar is hosting about 22 active private depots yet IPMAN members with licensed
filling stations cannot have access to products because the names they generate and
sell to are unknown to us, many of which are not our members and definitely alien to
us.
“We barricaded the gates of private depots; we are going round all depots to ensure
they understand how we feel and the difficulties our members are going through just
to get product. We also have information that Mainland depot has over 50m litres and
our plea to them is to sell at least 2m litres to our members in Cross River and Akwa
Ibom to service the our outlets.
“We are now wondering why they cannot sell to us since they are holding the product
in trust for the government. We maintain that if they sell this to us and we don’t sell
at government regulated prices then you can hold the leadership responsible. It is a
pity that NNPC is encouraging this racketeering. And if it goes on without checks we
might be forced to shut down over 2, 000 filling stations belonging to our members in
both states.”
Another marketer, Mr. Joseph Ekpang who accused NNPC of encouraging fraud and
other sharp practices said the Corporation provides at the depot by p two different
accounts for payment.
He said: “The NNPC encourages fraudulent practices by giving marketers two accounts
if they don’t trust them. One account is government account to pay the official price
and the difference to another account.
“When we confronted the NNPC officials, they told us that the fuel at Mainland is an
intervention product meant to serve Abia, Enugu, Makurdi and that marketer in Cross
River and Akwa Ibom should go to Agara depot in Warri and load product. What mind
of economic sense is that you have product here they cannot sell to you unless you
drive down to Warri,”
When Vanguard visited NNPC depot no official was ready to speak.
However, one of the workers, who pleaded anonymity said: “We are not allowed to talk
to journalist. Besides, we don’t allocate the product here. The names of beneficiaries
are generated from our Abuja head office and sent to the depots to sell to.
“Our duty here is to monitor the private depots and ensure that those due allocation s
are given to. It is true that IPMAN here have complained bitterly because their
members are marginalised in the distribution process. They should channel their
grievances to the appropriate quarters.”

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