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Fuel Hike: Nigerian lawmakers allege economic sabotage, urge security agencies to tackle petrol hoarders

*The House of Representatives Committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream and Midstream) affirm they have engaged the stakeholders in the petroleum distribution value chain to end recurrent fuel queues in a few days in the Nigerian economy

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As the current fuel scarcity bites harder with its socio-economic consequences on consumers, businesses and organisations across Nigeria, the Federal lawmakers have accused certain industry stakeholders of economic sabotage, asking security agencies to clamp down on them.

The House of Representatives Committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream and Midstream) urged the security operatives to tackle the oil marketers engaging in the arbitrary fuel price increments.

Nigeria’s House of Representatives

ConsumerConnect reports the relative scarcity of petrol in the economy, especially over the past one week has got several commuters stranded with higher transport costs on most routes, as well as increasing cost of living for lots of Nigerian consumers.

Ikenga Ugochinyere and Henry Okojie, Chairmen of the two Committees on Petroleum Resources (Downstream and Midstream), in a joint statement noted the legislators said they had reached out to the stakeholders in the petroleum distribution value chain to end fuel queues in the country.

The lawmakers also confirmed they have engaged 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 Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) to mention a few.

The statement noted: “We have engaged extensively with them, with a view to ascertaining the cause of the resurgence of the fuel queues in petrol stations across the country.

“From our investigations, we have discovered that there is availability of petrol products. We have on good authority that we have in our storage facilities, at least, about 1.5 billion litres of petrol that can last for 30 days.”

The lawmakers also stated: “It is, however, saddening to note that it is as a result of logistics challenge that the queues have resurfaced.

“These logistic issues range from difficulty experienced in transporting products from the mother vessels to onshore.

“Movement of products with marine shuttle vessels, disruption in the Escravos channels, etc.”

The disruptions in logistic supply, the committees said, have been taken care of, and the scarcity of petrol would be a thing of the past in the next few days.

The Federal legislators, however, accused some stakeholders of economic sabotage, and subsequently, requested security agencies to clamp down on such saboteurs.

They further said: “We hereby call on security forces to support the NNPCL, NMDPRA, PETROAN, NARTO and other key stakeholders in the distribution value chain, so as to ensure that such acts of economic sabotage that has to do with hoarding, arbitrary increment in price, products diversion and smuggling are detected and dealt with.

“Our people have been through a lot in the last few days and we must not plunge them into further pains.

“We appeal to all traders and those rendering services, not to unduly take advantage of this temporary challenge, which will be cleared in the next few days.”

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