The Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Joseph Akinlaja, has appealed to the Federal Government to do everything within its powers to pay the arrears owed independent petroleum product marketers to forestall any fuel crisis.
This came as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), yesterday, kicked against attempt by some groups of oil importers to disrupt the relative peace in the downstream oil sector of the country over the subsidy debts.
Akinlaja made the appeal during an oversight visit to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Abuja, yesterday.
A statement by NNPC spokesman Ndu Ughamadu said the lawmaker acknowledged the need to support NNPC to sustain petroleum products supply.
He said the corporation was overburdened and “because of that, when it runs into hiccups, somebody will say their operations are opaque. Let’s avoid fuel scarcity by supporting NNPC”.
In his presentation to the committee, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, reassured Nigerians of the corporation’s preparedness to ensure zero-scarcity of petroleum products during the upcoming festive season and beyond.
Meanwhile, a statement by IPMAN National Secretary, Alhaji Danladi Pasali, described the 7-day ultimatum issued by the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) and the Independent Petroleum Products Importers (IPPIs), as an intimidation and attempt to frustrate the effort of government to ensure Nigerians have a hitch-free Yuletide celebration.
The IPMAN scribe said it was unfortunate that some groups placed their personal interests above national interest.
According to him, it is good for the marketers to ask for their rights but that taking a decision to shut down the petroleum sector at this period of festivity is an act of sabotage.