The Enugu Zone of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN) has threatened to shut down operations in Anambra and Enugu over alleged harassment by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
According to the Chairman of the association in Enugu, Chief Ikechukwu Nwankwo, the planned showdown was to protest the incessant harassment of the members by the officials of the DPR.
The chairman accused NNPC officials of sabotage, saying they were in the habit of preventing marketers from procuring products at the approved depot prices.
He called on the Federal Government to probe, expose and punish the unpatriotic elements in the organisation.
“We have been meeting on this issue of selling at the approved price; DPR officials have been going to our members with security agencies to harass them, charging them for one offence or the other.
“Anambra and Enugu are the worst hit and we shutdown our stations for them this week so that they can service the people as they wish.
“NNPC does not supply us products, so why will they send DPR to come and be chasing us around?
“Let them sell to us at the normal N77 cost price, then they will not need to enforce anything,” he said.
Nwankwo called on Anambra and Enugu state governments to liaise with the NNPC and ensure that the right quotas to the states were supplied as the residents were suffering.
He also opined that if the depot in Enugu, which had broken down for more than 11 years, was repaired, it would reduce the pressure of supply to the zone.
Efforts to reach Ms Ngozi Okoye, the Special Adviser to Gov. Willie Obiano on Oil and Gas, was not successful as she had stepped out of the office and calls to her phone were not picked.
In his reaction, the Operations Manager at the Enugu office of the DPR, Mr Ahmed Gwaran, said the agency was aware of the threat.
Gwaran said the DPR and the petroleum products distribution stakeholders in the zone comprising Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu states had met to forestall the action which would have serious economic consequences on the lives of the people.
He said, however, that the enforcement was a policy issue which would not be compromised, adding that the government price was sacrosanct and that the meeting would help to smoothen rough edges.
The marketers have always sold above the current approved N86.50 pump price in Anambra as the product sells for between N120 and N130 per litre