Fuel Scarcity: House Calls for Clampdown on Middlemen Hoarding Fuel

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The House of Representatives Committees on Petroleum Resources, Downstream and Midstream have called on the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN), and the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) to deal with the act of sabotage in the sector which has led to scarcity of petroleum in the past few days. 

The Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Hon. Ikenga Ugochinyere and Chairman, Committee on Midstream Petroleum, Odi Okogie, made the call while addressing a press conference on Wednesday in Abuja. 

The lawmakers expressed concerns over the fuel queues in petrol stations across the country which has adversely affected the lives and businesses of Nigerians, 

Ugochinyere said: “It is so painful that Nigerians have been subjected to great hardship and pains as a result of the scarcity of petroleum products in the past few days.”

He, however, added that from investigations, they found out that there was availability of petrol products, at least, about 1.5 billion litres of petrol that can last for 30 days. 

The lawmaker stressed that it was as a result of logistics that the queues have resurfaced, adding that these logistic issues range from difficulty in transporting products from the mother vessel to the respective petrol stations.

Ugochinyere explained that this development has led the committees to engage with the regulators of the relevant sectors with a view to finding out the cause(s) of this scarcity and providing solutions to same. 

He said: “We strongly frown on 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 chain, so as to ensure that acts of economic sabotage that has to do with hoarding, arbitrary increment in price, products diversion and smuggling are detected and dealt with.”

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