Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has resorted to individual trade relationships with independent petroleum marketers in the country due to the prolonged leadership crisis that has torn apart the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).
According to a factional president of IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, the NNPC made known its latest decision to maintain a neutral stand on the association’s internal quarrels to its counsel, Messers A.S. Moyosore in a letter dated October 17.
Okoronkwo said the letter was signed by NNPC’s Secretary and Legal Adviser, I. Onugie, and made reference to the crisis which has seen him, Aminu Abdukadir and Chief Lawson Obasi lay claims to IPMAN leadership.
He also said the NNPC indicated that it was respecting the many law suits that are pending in court on the same issue, adding that the letter made it clear that it is not a party to the suits.
The content of the letter which journalists sighted read: “Re: Leadership crisis in the National Executive Council of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in the matter of Chief Obasi Lawson and Aminu Abdulkadir parading themselves as leaders of IPMAN.”
“We refer to the above matter and your letter ref: AM/PR/IPMAN/09/2016 dates 1st September 2016. We note the pendency of leadership crisis in your association and also the multifarious suits that evolved thereat and wish to maintain that NPC/NPMC is not a party to the pending suits.”
It further stated: “Therefore, the corporation is hereby maintaining its neutral position pending the outcome of the suits. In view hereof, we shall continue to deal with our marketers on individual basis pending the outcome of the suits in the dispute.”
The Federal Ministry of Justice had reportedly said in a letter it wrote to the Secretary and Legal Adviser of NNPC on August 17, 2015, that the Solicitor General of the Federation had described as contemptuous a memo which recognised Chief Lawson Obasi as the lawful national president of IPMAN, in spite of pending litigations in the courts of first instance and an appeal on the matter.