The House of Representatives has ordered the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and other regulatory agencies to end the lingering fuel scarcity in one week to ease the suffering of Nigerians.
The order followed the adoption of motion of urgent public importance by Sa’idu Musa Abdullahi (APC, Niger) at plenary on Tuesday.
Presenting the motion, he said in the last few months, Nigerians had been subjected to untold hardships caused by the lingering petrol scarcity, affecting economic activities and making the already trying times in the country more difficult.
He said the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) advanced several excuses to justify the fuel scarcity.
The lawmaker stated, “Firstly, when the scarcity reared its ugly head at the peak of the rainy season in October this year, NMDPRA said the fuel scarcity in Abuja and other northern states was caused by rainfall which submerged the greater part of Lokoja including the highway leading to Abuja, a development that grounded all vehicular movements along that route.
“Soon after floods/rains receded in Lokoja and the petrol scarcity continued, the President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) said the situation persisted because of the supply gap created by the blockade in Lokoja. The IPMAN affirmed that there was enough product in the depots and that the lingering scarcity was only caused by the break in supply of the product.
“When the scarcity continued and all the excuses advanced by the stakeholders watered down, the National Operations Controller of IPMAN advanced another reason and argued that the scarcity is because of an unsteady supply of the products.
“Intelligence reports on current fuel scarcity gathered by our security agencies indicated that there is a deliberate plan by some oil marketers to derail the effort of the government in the distribution of fuel in the country by hoarding the petroleum products, thereby creating artificial scarcity all over the country”.
He lamented that while the fuel scarcity is heating petroleum stations of some major marketers that are currently selling fuel on government regulated price, some independent marketers have enough petroleum products selling at unregulated prices.
He added that most of such filling stations had resulted in selling fuel at over N300 per litre.
He said, “It is observed with dismay that those who are gaining from this artificial fuel scarcity appear to be smiling home as a result of this ugly development and this has the potency to provoke innocent Nigerians against the government.
“The inability of the regulators of the petroleum sector to end this artificial scarcity of petroleum products forced the Department of State Security Services to issue an ultimatum to the NNPC, and oil marketers to end the artificial scarcity within 48-hours”.
The House therefore called on the NNPC Ltd to end the artificial scarcity within the next one week in order to ease the suffering of Nigerians.
It further called on the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to collaborate with the Nigerian Police Force and DSSS to ensure that fuel is sold at the regulated price and in all retail outlets.
The House mandates its Committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance.