The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of being the brain behind the fuel scarcity across the states of the federation.
The party also said the opposition party was planning to engage vandals to cause disruption in electricity supply by vandalising critical infrastructure to reduce the megawatts of electricity being generated.
The Director, Media and Publicity of PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, in a statement, said the emergence of fuel scarcity in many parts of the country was a result of “sabotage by the APC which has infiltrated the ranks of the fuel marketers.”
Femi Fani-Kayode averred the fuel marketers have taken a sub-contract from the opposition to frustrate supplies of petrol to filling stations as part of a grand plan to create tension in the polity.
“These unconscionable opposition elements infiltrated the ranks of the fuel marketers, whom they have contracted, in a calculated attempt to frustrate the good efforts of government.
“Why have they taken this time when all hands are on deck for the March 28 elections to cause this artificial fuel scarcity?
“This shows how desperate and wicked the opposition APC can be in their quest for presidential power,” he stated.
Fani-Kayode told the APC to desist from celebrating over the pains and sufferings of Nigerians as they have continued to do with the Boko Haram attacks on the people.
“This predilection exposes and portrays the APC and its leaders as forces of retrogression with a devilish mindset to unleash the worst form of anarchy on the nation before, during and after the March 28 presidential election because they know their party and presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari will be dealt a crushing blow by President Goodluck Jonathan at the polls,” he said.
Fani-Kayode also alerted the nation on the plot by the opposition elements to vandalise critical infrastructure in the power sector to reduce the megawatts of electricity being generated and reverse the gains government was making in the sector.
However, the APC has described the allegations as “totally unconscionable, and indeed an admission of failure, for a sitting government and ruling party to blame the opposition for their failings.”
“They have simply abdicated their responsibility to the people. They can as well throw in the towel and head home,” the party said in a statement issued in Dubai on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed.
“The questions to ask are: Who runs the NNPC? Who pays subsidy to fuel marketers? Who has used federal resources to bribe individuals and groups to such a level that there is no money to run the government, not to talk of paying subsidies?
“The moment a ruling party starts transferring its responsibilities to the opposition, it is clear that the market is over,” the APC said.
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Government has sanctioned five members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria (IPMAN) for selling their products above control prices.
The affected individuals have their petrol stations shut down indefinitely while a fine of N500,000 was imposed on each of the offenders.
Chairman of the State Petroleum Consumers Protection Agency, Adeyemi Adebayo, who made this known on Monday after monitoring sale of the commodity in the state capital, said the affected stations were sealed-off over alleged hoarding and sale of petrol above Federal Government’s approved price of N87 per litre.
Many petrol stations were still not dispensing the commodity except the NNPC stations in Ado-Ekiti which had long queues of motorists.
He gave names of the sanctioned fuel stations as Prosperous filling station, Isan-Ekiti; Iropora filling station, Iropora-Ekiti; Ferbason filling station, Ado-Ekiti; MNPC, Ado-Ekiti as well as Montel filling station also in Ado-Ekiti.
He vowed that the affected stations would not be re-opened until they revert to the normal price and stop further hoarding of the product.
He said his men caught the stations in the act, while acting on tip-off that some of the stations were selling a litre of fuel for as high as between N100 – N120, as against N87 approved by government.
But the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) has blamed the ugly situation on the Federal Government for non-payment of subsidy claims to marketers.
Executive Secretary of MOMAN, Olawore Obafemi, said on Monday in Lagos that the lingering fuel scarcity was caused by the inability of marketers to import petrol since February.
He explained that Federal Government has not redeemed its pledge to pay the marketers in foreign exchange and interest rate differentials.
“We are not importing any fuel because we don’t have money and no bank agreed to give us loan when we have not paid the one we collected,” he explained.
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers (NUPENG) on Monday in Abuja called on the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to intervene in the fuel crisis.
NUPENG’s General Secretary, Isaac Aberare, said in Abuja that the intervention of the minister was imperative in resolving the crisis.
Meanwhile, thousands of commuters were on Monday stranded in bus stops as the effect of the fuel scarcity bit harder in Abuja.
With most petrol stations without the product, and chaos reigning in the few that were dispensing, black marketers had a field day with price per litre ranging from N200 to N250.
Motorists who lamented the hiccup in the petrol supply chain which started last week, urged the Federal Government to urgently intervene to end the sufferings of consumers.
At some petrol stations visited in the city centre and surrounding suburbs long queues characterised those selling, with the queues at the mega station owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) stretching over 2 kilometres.
However, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Joseph Dahwa, has assured motorists that the corporation was working hard to address the scarcity.
Dahwa who spoke newsmen shortly after inspecting two filling stations opposite the NNPC towers in Abuja, said the NNPC’s subsidiary, the Petroleum Pipelines and Marketing Company (PPMC) has enough stock to satisfy the country.
On his part, the PPMC Managing Director, Haruna Momoh, explained that the company was facing a lot of challenges from vandals who constantaly attacked its pipelines.
Also speaking on the crisis, the Executive Secretary of Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Farouk Ahmed, stressed that the problem started with the banks which were reluctant to issue letters of credit to importers.
Meanwhile, four tanker vessels laden with a combined 150,000 metric tons (MT) of premium motor spirit (PMS) are currently awaiting berthing space at various oil terminals in Lagos.
This was disclosed by Shipping Position, a daily publication of ship traffic released by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The NNPC insists that it has flooded the market with enough PMS, urging the public to avoid panic buying.
According to NPA’s Shipping Position, Six more vessels were being expected to arrive the country with a combined 185,000 metric tons of PMS.
Four of the vessels are expected to arrive today while the others would arrive on March 5 and 6.