Reps appeal for calm over return of fuel queues 

 

The House of Representatives joint Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream and Midstream) has called on Nigerians to be calm as the issues that led to the current scarcity of petrol across the country had been addressed.

The committee which said it has been convinced, after extensively engaging relevant stakeholders in the industry, also assured that the queues being noticed will disappear in few days.

Addressing journalists on the development on Wednesday, Chairman of the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Hon. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere and Chairman Petroleum Resources (Midstream), Hon. Henry Odi Okojie, said from investigations, it was discovered that there is availability of petrol products. 

“We have on good authority that we have in our storage facilities, at least, about 1.5 billion litres of petrol that can last for 30 days. It is however saddening to note that it is as a result of logistics challenge that the queues have resurfaced. These logistic issues range from difficulty experinced in transporting products from the mother vessels to onshore. Movement of products with marine shuttle vessels, disruption in the Escravos channels, etc”, they said in a joint press release. 

They explained that “We have in the last few days reached out to the stakeholders in the petroleum distribution value chain; the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), and the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) to mention a few. We have engaged extensively with them, with a view to ascertaining the cause of the resurgence of the fuel queues in petrol stations across the country.

“We hereby express our concerns over the temporary presence of fuel queues in petrol stations across the country. However, we are convinced that this is temporary based on our investigation and in a couple of days, we shall get over it.

“We have gotten the assurances from the regulators in the distribution value chain that these bottlenecks have been cleared. In the course of this public holiday, more grounds will be covered. From our findings, the issues that necessitated the disruptions which led to the appearance of fuel queues in petrol stations have been cleared. Obviously, it will take a few more days for things to return back to normalcy. Therefore, we call on Nigerians not to panic over this development.”

The joint committee however, called for a clampdown on those taking advantage of the situation to make Nigerians suffer more, saying “we strongly frown at the activities of middlemen who have taken advantage of the short disruption of supply, to maximize profit and generate inordinate gain for themselves, at the detriment of our people. We hereby call on security forces to support the NNPCL, NMDPRA, PETROAN, NARTO and other key stakeholders in the distribution value chain, so as to ensure that such acts of economic sabotage that has to do with hoarding, arbitrary increment in price, products diversion and smuggling are detected and dealt with.