Rivers: Fuel scarcity looms as marketers suspend product lifting

The Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria (IPMAN) has blamed the increase in the pump price of petrol in South-Eastern states on the hike in price at private depots.

Long queues are about to return to filling stations in Rivers State, less than three months after the last national emergency.

This follows the suspension of the lifting of petrol from depots in the state by independent marketers and owners of filling stations over allegations of harassment by security agents.

The petroleum products dealers say the security agents, comprising of men of the Nigerian Army, Police, and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps are being used by some acclaimed officers of their unions to enforce the payment of an illegal levy of N15,000 per marketer in private depots and tank farms.

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At a joint briefing in Port Harcourt, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Petroleum Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN) warned that the scarcity, which is expected in a few day’s time, will escalate to other parts of the country as similar complaints are being received from other states.

The Six Division of the Nigerian Army and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) have denied deploying their men for such an operation.

The NSCDC spokesperson in Rivers State, Olufemi Ayodele, said the command is ready to deal decisively with any officer who arrogates such responsibility to himself especially when the anti-vandal unit of the Corps has been disbanded.

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Meanwhile, the police are yet to respond to the allegation.

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