The National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Mr. Obasi Lawson has blamed the current fuel scarcity on the in-house tussle for the leadership of the of the association.
Lawson said the association controls over 60 per cent of the retail outlets of petrol, but that the crisis in IPMAN prevented most members of the group from assessing petroleum products.
The president while speaking during a meeting with stakeholders of the association in Abuja revealed that products meant for IPMAN-controlled petrol stations were diverted to the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMA) as a result of the crisis in IPMAN.
He said, “IPMAN is a major player in the downstream sub-sector of the oil and gas industry. We control over 60 per cent of the retail outlets across the country and we have over 10,000 members with over 30,000 petrol stations. What the masses suffered because of fuel scarcity was largely caused by the crisis in IPMAN. Before the crisis started in IPMAN, you will agree that there was no problem of fuel scarcity for about three years into the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“But the suffering started as a result of this crisis and this is because we control 60 per cent of the retail outlets. During the crisis we were not getting products as at when due, the products that were supposed to come to us were diverted to MOMAN and DAPMAN. And as at that time most of our petrol stations were not selling.
“It is not that we are not getting the products, but we get them at exorbitant prices and we have to transport it ourselves. It wasn’t the fault of the PPMC (Pipelines and Product Marketing Company), but it was because we were not united. They prefer giving it to MOMAN and DAPMAN that were united.”
Lawson, however, stated that the crisis had been resolved as a result of the apt intervention of the Federal Government.
He said, “But now that we are united, I will assure you that the PPMC will give us the allocation that is due us and all our stations will have products. So the issue of this scarcity will be a thing of the past. Also, the issue of some group of persons deciding not to work will not cause scarcity because we control 60 per cent of the market and the product.”
Meanwhile, a letter from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, which was signed by the Minister of Labour, Senator Joel Ikenya, and addressed to the IPMAN, acknowledged Lawson as the lawful national president of group.
In the letter, the labour minister said, “I wish to convey that, His Excellency, Mr. President has graciously approved your recognition as the lawful national president of IPMAN, in line with the judgment of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt and all relevant agencies have been directed accordingly.”