Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has given reasons why pump prices of petrol in the five south eastern states of Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, and Imo may have largely remained higher than the regulated price of N197 per litre.
Speaking in Enugu, NNPCâ€™s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, explained that incessant acts of vandalism on its Aba-Enugu products pipeline has continued to hamper its supplies and distribution plans in the region.
Baru noted in a statement from the corporationâ€™s Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja that at some point, the NNPC recorded about 700 breaches on the pipeline.
He explained this situation has hampered efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products in the entire south eastern region.
The statement noted that Baru met with the Governor of Enugu, Mr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, at the Government House in Enugu where the governor pledged to work with the NNPC to revamp the Enugu Depot so that it can meet the petroleum products demand of the region.
Baru explained that even after the Aba-Enugu pipeline was repaired, it still had to be shut down because the NNPC hardly got up to 50 per cent of the products it pumped through it.
He also described the Enugu Depot as a major NNPC supply and distribution infrastructure in the region which required support from all stakeholders in the region to resume operations.
According to Baru, the Osisioma and Nsirimo areas, both in Abia state as well as Ishiagwu in Ebonyi state were the major vandalism flash points on the line where illegal connections for diversion of products had been observed almost on a daily basis.
He, thus called on Ugwuanyi to help get the support of his colleague governors in the region to work with the NNPC and security agencies to secure the pipeline, adding that this would go a long way in reviving efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products in the region.
â€œThis depot is not only strategic to the south east, it also serves as a bridge to Makurdi Depot in the north central as well as the Yola Depot in the north east,â€ said Baru in the statement.
He requested the governor to collaborate with relevant government agencies to enforce the sale of petrol at filling stations in the state at the government-regulated price of N145.
â€œYou wouldnâ€™t want to watch as unpatriotic marketers profiteer over your innocent citizens. We still believe marketers anywhere in this country can make profit selling at the official pump price,â€ he said.
Ugwuanyi, in his response, assured Baru that he would rally other governors from the region to ensure that the Aba-Enugu pipeline was secured from vandalism, adding that Baruâ€™s visit has better explained to him why the Enugu depot was not functional.