Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Aba Unit has cried out over the non-availability of petroleum products at the NNPC Depot Osisioma, Aba, which is the only functional depot in the South-east zone.
It warned that the entire South-east would experience acute shortage of petrol with its attendant high cost if Aba depot remained dry during the forthcoming yuletide season.
The IPMAN members, who expressed worries during a peaceful protest at the depot, were joined by other stakeholders of the depot community, including petroleum tanker drivers. They carried placards expressing their grievances while chanting solidarity songs.
In a position letter signed by the Aba IPMAN Chairman, Prince Bobby Dick and Secretary, Oliver Okolo, which was read by the chairman, the stakeholders warned of dire socio-economic consequences of the continued starving of the Aba depot.
He said that Aba had not received kerosene and diesel for the past two years while petrol was stopped from flowing to the depot for five months now thereby creating hardships for the depot stakeholders and consumers of petroleum products.
“Considering the yuletide period that is around the corner if petroleum products are not pumped to Aba Depot immediately there will be imminent scarcity of petroleum products, especially petrol across the whole of Southeast,” he said.
The IPMAN unit chairman insisted that there was no plausible reason to justify the non-supply of petroleum products to Aba Depot as the pipelines were free and safe all the way to Aba Depot.
“Our investigation has shown that the pipelines from pumping station at Port Harcourt to Aba Depot is safe and through and the contractor paid to safeguard the pipelines is also on ground.”
Dick blamed “some cabals in NPSC and PPMC (who) have politicised pumping of petroleum products to Aba Depot, which is the only functional depot serving the entire South-east.”
According to him, petroleum products meant for Aba depot were “being diverted to private tank farms compelling us to buy them at higher cost and at the risk of our trucks falling on the bad roads with its consequences of loss of lives and properties.”
Dick explained that the peaceful demonstration “is an expression of our frustration after series of appeal and to avoid imminent scarcity of petroleum products this festive period.”
The depot stakeholders urged the federal government to compel both NPSC and PPMC to start pumping PMS, DPK and AGO to save jobs and ameliorate economic hardships.
The Depot manager, Samuel Ocheni who received the Aba IPMAN unit position paper from the chairman promised to transmit their requests to the appropriate authorities for action.