Officers of the IGP Monitoring Squad are said to have harassed and scared people, so on Friday, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) told all gas stations in Oyo state to close until further notice.
In an interview with reporters at the IPMAN headquarters in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state, the association’s chairman, Alhaji Bukola Mutiu, said that the high price of diesel and the fact that Oyo State-based petroleum marketers can’t load fuel directly from the Ibadan depot are to blame for the state’s ongoing fuel shortage.
Mutiu said that the association’s leaders have been handling the crisis for a long time. He said that if the price of diesel and Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), which is also known as gasoline, goes up too much, the situation could get out of hand.
He said, “It’s a shame that none of the depots in the South West work. Here, we can’t load from the Ibadan depot. We have to go to Lagos or the far East to buy fuel from local sellers who got it from the NNPC.
“Sometimes we buy it for between N158 and N159 per litre, but recently the price has gone up. When we add the cost of transportation, which is N18 per litre, you can see that we can’t sell at the government pump price of N165, which is why some of us sell at N180 per litre. The government should figure out how to get out of the oil business.
“The government should level the playing field. We have told all gas stations in the state to shut down because some officers who said they were from the IGP monitoring squad were intimidating and bothering our members for not following government rules about pump prices. Five of our gas stations have been shut down, and some of our members have been arrested as I talk to you.
“We are asking the government to make it clear who has the power to shut down a gas station if something seems wrong. We only know about the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), whose job it is to shut down any gas station that doesn’t follow government rules. But now, six uniformed agencies under the Nigeria Police Force are trying to take over the job of DPR, which is now called the Nigeria Mainstream and Downstream Authority.
“Two of our gas stations were shut down in Iseyin, and three were shut down in the Akinyele local government area of the Ibadan metropolis. Some of our members were also abused, harassed, and arrested.”
“When did it become the job of the IGP Squad to make sure gas stations follow the law? We think they were made to keep an eye on illegal bunkering and other things like that. So, we are asking the government to help us by telling the general public who is in charge of zeal the gas stations.
“They are all aware of the situation we are in. How can we spend a lot of money getting fuel from Lagos to other places and still expect to sell it at a normal price? They need to show us another way to get fuel without having to pay for transportation.
“Only NNPC brings fuel into this country, and they are the ones who sell it to the local businesses that we buy from. Every day, these people sell for more than they did the day before. Time for the government to step in. They should let the NNPC sell directly to us through the Southwest depots. If we can load fuel from the Ibadan depot here, we won’t have to worry about getting it here.
“I’m the Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria in Oyo State, Osun, and some parts of Kwara and Ondo, so if this problem isn’t fixed, it’s likely that we’ll shut down in those states too.”
At the time this report was written, most of the gas stations that were checked out were locked up, and drivers could be seen waiting in line with their cars in hopes of getting gas.