For the first time since the nationwide fuel crisis began three weeks ago, President Goodluck Jonathan, spoke on Wednesday, attributing the scarcity and industrial actions by some labour unions to last-minute efforts at sabotaging his administration, even when it has few days to go.
Speaking at the Presidential Villa, during a valedictory session of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), the President also suggested that any probe by the incoming government must extend beyond his tenure in office.
Otherwise, he argued, such action would amount to witch-hunting.
The special session of FEC afforded every Minister an opportunity to pay tributes to Jonathan and cabinet colleagues. The praises for the President were so towering that he laughed off some of them as exaggerated.
He later held a valedictory session with members of the Security Council, chaired by him, comprising the Vice-President; Chief of Defence Staff; service chiefs; Inspector-General of Police; and head of the Department of State Security as members.
Meanwhile, against the backdrop of reports that some marketers are selling premium motor spirit (PMS) above the N87 per litre pump price, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), at the midweek, threatened to revoke the licenses of those caught.
Daily Independent gathered that most retail outlets within the Oregun, Ogba and Isaga axis of Lagos state and Oke Aro, Akute and Ajuwon areas of Ogun state are selling the product between N130.00; N150.00 and even N200 per litre.
Spokeswoman of the DPR, Mrs. Dorothy Bassey, told Daily Independent on telephone that the department is already undertaking vigorous monitoring activities, adding that the team is yet to find any culpable outlet.
“Most of the filling stations we visited were selling at the normal price. We have warned the marketers that anyone caught selling above the pump price would have his license revoked. But because of the volatility of the time, we wouldn’t want that to happen so we are appealing to the marketers to sell at the normal price for the country to move forward.
“We are also appealing to Nigerians to provide us with useful, accurate information detailing the day, time, name and addresses of retail outlets that are selling petrol above the pump price of N87.00 per litre; for us to carry out our investigation,” she said.
The Secretary General of Depot And Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA), Olufemi Adewole, said the retail outlets are loading fuel at normal price at the depots, saying that the transaction between his members and the retail marketers terminates once the truck leaves the depot.
He noted the DPR’s resolve to monitor the retail outlets and enforce compliance.
An industry source however also told Daily Independent that most of the retail outlets are selling above the pump price, capitalising on the knowledge that no importation has been made by the major marketers.
“If a company can come in now and break the yoke, the retail outlets will be forced to sell at the normal pump price because they know that the product would circulate round the country.
Also on Wednesday, President Jonathan named Obasi Lawson, the National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), recognised by the Federal Government.
This follows the protracted leadership crisis that has been rocking the body.
In a letter dated May 25, 2015, and addressed to the Director-General of the Department of State Security (DSS) and other security agencies, signed by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Joel Ikenya, obtained by our Correspondent in Abuja, the government said its recognition followed “the submission of the report of the Presidential Committee to resolve the leadership crisis in IPMAN.
Reacting to his recognition, Obasi said it would stop the incessant scarcity of petroleum products in the country.
His words: “as you know we control over 60 per cent of the retail outlets in the country and this recognition will strengthen the association as it is the wish of the majority of the members. On deregulation, we are totally in support of deregulation as it encourage healthy competition and alleviate the suffering of the masses in their bid to get the product. Deregulation will attract foreign investors into the industry who will bring in their funds.
“We are calling on the Federal government licenses to investors to establish modular refineries, small small refineries to eradicate scarcity of the product and bring down the cost of the products as it will engender stiff competition, like what is happening in the telecoms industry,” he added.