Due to alleged harassment and intimidation by officers of the IGP Monitoring Squad, the leadership of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) ordered the total closure of all fuel stations across Oyo state until further notice on Friday.
In an interview with journalists at the IPMAN headquarters in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, the association’s chairman, Alhaji Bukola Mutiu, blamed the state’s ongoing fuel shortage on the high cost of diesel and the inability of Oyo State-based petroleum marketers to load fuel directly from the Ibadan depot.
Mutiu noted that the leadership of the association has been managing the crisis for a very long time before the matter goes beyond control due to an increment in the price of the diesel, as well as Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol.
“It is so unfortunate that all the depots in South West are not working. We can’t load from Ibadan depot here. We need to travel to Lagos or far East to buy from some local marketers that bought the fuel from NNPC.
“Sometimes we buy at the rate of N158-N159 per litre and lately it has increased. By the time we add transport cost which is N18 per litre then you will see that there is no how we will sell at the government pump price of N165 and that is the reason why you see some of us selling at N180 per litre. Government should find a way to deregulate the oil sector.
“Government should give us a level play ground. We have ordered for a total shut down of all filling stations across the state because some officers that claimed to be IGP monitoring squad have been intimidating and harassing our members for non-compliance with government regulation pump price. As I’m talking to you now, five of our filling stations have been sealed, while some of our members have been arrested.
“We are calling on government to clear the air on who has the mandate is to seal the filling station over any suspected irregularities. We are only aware of the Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR) which has the mandate to seal any filling station that violates government regulations. But nowadays we have no fewer than six uniform agencies under Nigeria Police Force coming to claim the mandate of DPR which is now known as Nigeria Mainstream and Downstream Authority.
“Two of our fuel stations have been shut in Iseyin, while three were shut in Akinyele local government area of Ibadan metropolis, and some of our members were molested, harassed and arrested.
“When has it become the mandate of the IGP Squad to be enforcing the law at filling stations. We believe they were carved out to monitor the activities of illegal bunkering and the likes. So we are calling on the government to come to our rescue by telling the masses who has the mandate to zeal the fuel stations.
“They are all aware of the situation we are passing through, how can we been using huge sum of money for transportation of fuel commodity from Lagos to our various destinations and still expect us to sell at normal price, they need to show us an alternative way of getting the fuel without paying for transportation.
“Only NNPC is importing fuel into this country, and they are the ones selling to those local marketers that we buy from. Those people sell at an increasing price on a daily basis. It is time for government to intervene. They should allow the NNPC to sell directly to us via our various depots in the Southwest. If we can load fuel from Ibadan depot here, the transportation burden will no longer be there again.
“I’m the Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria in Oyo State, Osun and some parts of Kwara and Ondo, so if this situation is not addressed, then it is likely that we will extend the shut down to those states.”
As of the time of filing this report, most of the filling stations visited were under lock and keys, while motorists were sighted waiting with their vehicles on queue with the hope of getting petrol.