The seamless supply of petroleum products to all the 19 states in Northern Nigeria is under threat.
A group of depot owners and fuel marketers in the country which stated this during a Press Conference in Lagos, country’s commercial capital, maintained that this major threat is caused by the shut down of the Waziri Jetty in Apapa by the Port Manager of the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA).
This allegation has, however, been refuted by the NPA.
Rising under the auspices of the Petroleum Products Depot Owners Association (PPDOA), the marketers called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly, the Minister of Transportation, Honourable Rotimi Amaechi, and other top government agencies to step in to prevemt the North from being plunged into a major fuel crisis.
The Barrister Trichia Okereke, Executive Secretary, PPDOA, which consists of six depot owners including Aiteo Energy, NIPCO Plc, A-Z Petroleum Nigeria Limited, One Terminal Nigeria Limited (previously known as Energy Destination), G-Eurafric Nigeria Limited, and Hensmor Nigeria Limited, said; “NPA’s closure is so egregious and tactless especially given that, just when the Nigerian Raileay Corporation has almost completed the rail tracks that run directly behind our Depots to assist in the seamless delivery of Petroleum products to the Northern regions, the closure threatens to trincate the plans to Petroleum wet the Norrh and the Middle belt!
“It is against this backdrop that we call upon the esteemed Preaident of Nigeria, Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, the minister of transport, honourable Rotimi Amaechi and the various Heads of Senate and House Committee on Ports and Jetties, ti intervene with the following crucial help.
“Mandate obidience of a Court Order: Given that the NPA closure of the jerty flouts an existing injuction, we ask the Preaident to order NPA obedience of the law and to immediately re-open the Waziri Jetty so that our petroleum operations may continue.”
The NPA being a body constituted by the government, Okereke said; “must obey the Law, so we respectfully call on the President to order NPA and Leader Marketing to cease all construction works on the jetty land in order to allow the court to determine the substantive case currently underway.
“Under the equitable rules of “first Right of Refusal,” we plead for the President to approve a grant of 10-Year Lease of the jetty land – at least to give us a try to see what we can do with repairs and upgrade of the Jetty and given that our goal is to install firefighting safety equipment, safeguard of lives and properties that have so calously been disregarded, would be guaranteed.”
Having allegedly been denied procedural due process in this matter, the PPDOA’s scribe said; “we further plead that the President in his estimable role as a father of the country, should caution the Port Manager, Apapa Port complex, Lagos, that as a government officer, restraints must be applied by her and her office, to allow for fair hearing and due process in her dealings, and that the legitimate business operations of the users of the jerty shold not be frustrated as she has threatenes to do so by applying operational berthing delay measures to counree the fruits of any superior powees, that attempts to rescue us.
“She is fully aware that we would cry out to the Presidnwt and to the Courts, and her operational threats ensure to either silence us to comform ir we risk a cry-out to the President that cannit mandate her to restrain if she so choose to frustrate us.”
The NPA is yet to officially respond to official correspondence seeking its reaction but a source at the agency, who said that “though official reaction is coming,” maintained that the “allegation that NPA is disrupting fuel supply to the north is unfounded, callous and, at best, unreasonable.
“It is a part of lies been told by business men for selfish business reason.”