The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has blamed the resurgent long queues in filling stations across the country on security operatives’ delay of the cargo ship awaiting clearance on the high sea.
The association’s President, Abdulkadir Aminu, who stated this in Abuja yesterday, said there would be continued disruption in discharge and loading at various depot until the relevant authorities speed up the clearance process.
Speaking in an interview, the IPMAN boss said “In a situation where you have disruption for 24 hours, its effect would last for about five to seven days, not to talk of when you have disruption for three to five days”.
Faulting the allegation that marketers are responsible for the scarcity, the IPMAN President said: “I totally disagree with the insinuations that marketers are the ones hoarding the products.
“The real issue is on the high sea. To what extent can a marketer hoard the product at the filling station? On the high sea, we have 42 days sufficiency, so how can a marketer hoard?
“The situation we have today has to do with logistics. That is the operations at the jetties, including the shore tanks, because of the little problem we had one week ago, which was the contraction in supply. The contraction was as a result of the ship-to-ship transfer on the high sea.
“And I want to tell you that up to this moment, to the best of my knowledge, there are still delays in the clearance of these ships from the high sea. And these delays lead to other issues that cause disruption in loading at various depots across the country”.
According to Aminu, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has made frantic efforts to ensure that all the tank farms are open for products discharge, but the biggest problem is the ship-to-ship transfer on the high sea, which he said have to be cleared before the exercise would be conducted.
He, however, admitted that “the Nigeria Navy and other security personnel on the high sea have their own mode of operations as security officers. They only can explain better how they clear these vessels. But to the best of my understanding, their delay in clearing the ships on the high sea is the cause of the problem that the nation is facing today”.
He explained that most of the nation’s inland depots do not receive products through the pipelines.
Aminu urged both IMPAN and DAPMAN to redouble their efforts in products bridging.
“I know that my members are willing to bridge, but they still have some teething problems in getting their trucks even into the depots because of the entry problems they face with the military personnel and other security operatives in Lagos”.
He lamented that before any truck gains entrance into the tank farm it is always a herculean task.