Energy

Off-spec fuel: Arewa youths berate PDP, CSOs over ‘baseless conspiracy’

FILE PHOTO - A gas station attendant pumps fuel into a customer's car at the NNPC Mega petrol station in Abuja, Nigeria March 19, 2020. REUTERS-Afolabi Sotunde-File Photo

Northern youths under the aegis of Arewa Youth Assembly (AYA), have berated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some civil society groups for discrediting the leadership of the of the NNPC following the discovery of the methanol-blended petrol products.

The group also attacked PDP and others for also discrediting the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

The group also commended the NNPC and NMDPRA for demonstrating transparency, promoting accountability and also for their pragmatic response in ensuring that Nigerians have sufficient supply of petrol despite the disruption in some parts of the country.

The off-spec petrol, according to the NNPC, was imported into the country by four oil marketers through four premium motor spirit cargoes under the NNPC’s Direct Sales Direct Purchase arrangement.

In a statement signed by the speaker, Mohammed Salihu Danlami, and made available to journalists on Sunday, the group said that while it stands with Nigerians in this trying moment, no group (s) or individual(s) should take advantage of the situation for political gain and personal aggrandizement.

According to the group: “At a time such as this, citizens come together when there are genuine efforts to remedy the situation as has been shown by the federal government to assist in ameliorating the condition and urge the government to be more measured and quick.

“Sadly, the reverse seems to be the case in Nigeria when the main opposition political party, PDP, wishes to harvest from the common suffering of Nigerians through baseless conspiracy theories and underhand tactics that the present situation is to force Nigerians to accept a new price hike.

“Having critically reviewed the situation and received commitment from the federal government, we are persuaded to state that a new price hike for a litre of fuel is out of the table for now.”

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The group, however, noted that the Russian-Ukraine war has spiked oil prices across the world.

“We all should take cognizance that while the government was moving quickly to redress the imbalance arising from the off-spec imported fuel, the Russian-Ukraine war started and this has led to dire global ramifications.

“Since the Kremlin invasion, oil prices have spiked across the world. For instance, in the United Kingdom, a litre of fuel sells for as high as N841.2k (£1.49). Fuel price tracking outfit, RAC Fuel Watch, notes that petrol price per litre is £1.49, while diesel sells a little higher at £1.53. The simple maths show that to fill a 55-litre petrol car is at N46,000.

“It bears stating too that given the rise in crude oil prices in the global market, the cost of refined products will naturally go up. It is therefore abracadabra politics for the main opposition party and their hire-for-protest civil society friends to suggest otherwise when market forces interplay are obvious.

“Furthermore, we should remember that at the moment, the country’s refineries are undergoing rehabilitation, therefore, we depend solely on imports for PMS supply. So with the high demand of crude and refined products across the world, embargoes against Russia and disruptions in shipping, the expectation that the supply chain would have been fully restored by last week was not achieved as expected,” it added.

While commending the Mele Kyari-led NNPC for its resilient efforts in addressing the unnerving situation and restoring normalcy, the group said: “For the avoidance of doubt, it was the NMDPRA that alerted the country of methanol above national specifications in imported petrol, and proceeded to say that efforts were on to remove the contaminated products from circulation on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.

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“Also, the group managing director of the NNPC, Malam Mele Kyari, in subsequent statements and an appearance at the House of Representatives outlined efforts at remedying the situation.

“To underscore the seriousness of the situation, the NNPC and other relevant agencies have embarked on petrol distribution surveillance (PDS). The aim of the PDS is to ensure the seamless evacuation of products from mother vessels to depots and trucking from depots to other inland depots as well as retail stations.

“Information available to Arewa Youth Assembly also shows that there is at present, daily monitoring of trucks out from depots to all 36 states of the nation with focus on demand and existing stock available in the retail stations in these states. The task is being complemented by the deployment of personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) to effectively monitor truck out and prevent any diversion of products along the way. Besides these, there has been engagement with critical stakeholders in the petroleum value-chain like MOMAN, DAPMAN, IPMAN, PTD, NARTO and NUPENG to ensure products are distributed seamlessly and efficiently.

“For the main opposition and other entities working to cause public disaffection and incite the Nigerian people especially the youths, you shall find none as cannon fodder for your altruistic agenda.”

The group further called on Nigerians to resist fuel racketeering, panic buying and engaging in acts inimical to economic and security interest.

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