The Federal Government has inaugurated a team of 89 persons drawn from five key agencies to ensure transparency and accountability in the distribution of petroleum products across the country.
Speaking at a brief ceremony held at the NNPC Towers in Abuja on Thursday to launch the initiative code-named ‘Operation White’, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said the team would help to authenticate the actual volume of products imported and consumed in the country and ensure that the nation attains energy security.
Sylva, who earlier visited the team’s Command and Control Centre at the NNPC Towers, observed that the initiative was long overdue for the country, even as he charged members of the team to carry out the assignment with commitment, zeal and patriotism.
A statement by acting spokesman of the NNPC, Mr. Samson Makoji, said the minister was optimistic that the operation would stem the smuggling of petroleum products by some unscrupulous operators, stressing that the savings from the exercise would go a long way in supporting infrastructural development across the country.
He recalled that few weeks after the closure of the nation’s land borders, daily Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) consumption had dropped from 60million litres per day to 52million litres per day.
On his part, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, charged the team to deliver on the onerous national assignment of controlling leakages of petroleum products, especially PMS, adding that they have no option but to succeed.
He said that ‘Operation White’ would monitor and track every molecule of petroleum products imported into the country and follow it through to the pump, adding that the NNPC was poised to support the Federal Government in its quest to guaranteeing energy security for the country.
“The selection of ‘Operation White’ team was very thorough and people of great competence and high level of integrity were head-hunted for this national assignment.
“Today, we are good to go and we will see our transaction end-to-end as is the case in other countries. We are poised to support the minister to ensure that energy security is guaranteed for our dear country so that our principal, President Muhammadu Buhari, would be proud of us,” Mallam Kyari added.
Earlier, the Managing Director of the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and the team lead for ‘Operation White,’ Mr. Bala Wunti, said adequate institutional and governance structure of the team’s operations has been put in place.
Members of the team were drawn from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Petroleum Equalization Fund (PEF) as well as the Department of State Security (DSS).