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Fuel Scarcity: Reps Demand Clampdown On Hoarders, Assures Product Availability

The House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream and Midstream) has called on security agencies to pick up hoarders of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, as the scarcity of the products continues to challenge Nigerians nationwide.

This is as the committee assures Nigerians that its findings reveal the availability of petrol, stressing that the logistical challenges that have made the product scarce are being addressed.

Addressing a press conference at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, on Wednesday, the co-chair of the committee and Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Ikenga Ugochinyere, said although there was enough petrol to service the country for about 30 days, the supply and distribution to marketers was disrupted by challenges of transport vessels “That was supposed to take the products from offshore to onshore.”

Ugochinyere, who represents Ideato North/South Federal Constituency of Imo State, said, “We strongly frown at the activities of middlemen who have taken advantage of the short disruption of supply, to maximize profit and generate an inordinate gain for themselves, at the detriment of our people.

“We hereby call on security forces to support the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners and other key stakeholders in the distribution chain, to ensure that 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.”

The Committees assured Nigerians that the challenges would be overcome in a few days.

Ugochinyere said, “It is so painful that Nigerians have been subjected to great hardship and pains as a result of the scarcity of petroleum products in the past few days. This development has led us, as representatives of the people, to engage with the regulators of the relevant sectors to find out the cause(s) of this scarcity and provide solutions to same.

“We express our concerns over the temporary presence of fuel queues in petrol stations nationwide. This has adversely affected the lives and businesses of Nigerians across the country. As elected representatives of the Nigerian people, we are greatly disturbed by this development.

“However, we are convinced that this is temporary and that we will get over it in a few days. From our investigations, we have found out that petrol products are available. We have it on good authority that we have at least 1.5 billion litres of petrol in our storage facilities that can last for 30 days.

“It is, however, saddening to note that it is as a result of logistics that the queues have resurfaced. These logistic issues range from difficulty in transporting products from the mother vessel to the respective petrol stations. Movement of products from offshore marine vessels to the stations, disruption from Escravos channels.

“We have gotten the assurances from the regulators in the value chain that these bottlenecks are being cleared. In the course of this public holiday, more grounds will be covered. From our findings, the issues that necessitated the disruptions which led to the appearance of fuel queues in petrol stations have been cleared,” he said.

He called on Nigerians to be patient, noting that in about two or three days, the fuel queues will disappear.

Co-chair of the Committee and Chairman, Committee on Petroleum (Midstream), Henry Okojie, also called on Nigerians to be patient, saying the fuel crisis would be addressed within the week.

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