Hundreds of inhabitants of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, were in jubilant mood Monday as the Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria (IPMAN) sold kerosene at N50 per litre.
Many areas we visited in Ibadan like Akobo Estates, Apata, Olodo, Olunloyo and its environs witnessed people carrying their jerry cans to the selling points.
It was hectic controlling the crowd as many people were seen queuing up to get the product, which sold for between N120 and N125 in many of the filling stations in and around the city.
While residents of Ibadan were in jubilant mood, the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) dismissed allegations that its staff collected N25 per litre mobilisation fee from marketers before allocating kerosene to them as lies fabricated by some persons to tarnish the image of the corporation.
However, a resident in Akobo area, Mrs. Boluwade Folakemi, told us that: â€œWe thank the IPMAN for taking the bull by the horn and coming to the stark reality that all is not well within the domestic sector as people have for years been groaning over the high rates at which individual kerosene sellers and petrol stations alike, have been selling the commodity to end users.â€
Speaking on the development, IPMAN called on the federal government and the NNPC to do everything in its capacity to re-install the pipeline from Mosimi to Ibadan so that they can be pumping kerosene and selling at N50 per litre to consumers.
Speaking at one of the selling points, the Chairman of IPMAN, Chief Joseph Akanni Oyewole, explained that â€œit would be easy for marketers to sell at the NNPC/PPMC stipulated price if they could pump to Ibadan through Mosimi.â€
According to him, â€œmost of the marketers do purchase kerosene from independent depots in Lagos and Port-Harcourt at about N98 to N100 per litre and they would have to transport the product and add other expenses to it, that is why they sell at N120 to N130 per litre to the consumers, but if they could be loading kerosene in Ibadan depot like they are loading petrol, at NNPC price of N40.90, it would be easy for them to sell at N50 per litre.â€
Oyewole however implored the federal government to do everything in its capacity to ensure that all the obsolete pipelines are refurbished and replaced so that they can be able to withstand the pressure required for the pumping of all the products like diesel, kerosene and petrol so that the consumers would be getting them at the recommended prices.
He, however, cautioned consumers against panic buying of petrol, because the pipelines that were vandalised at Ijegun had been replaced and that the NNPC had promised to commence loading from today.
Meanwhile, following a report at the weekend that NNPC officials collected bribes amounting to N195 billion from marketers before allocating kerosene to them, the acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of NNPC, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, challenged anyone with evidence of such payment to tender it so that the staff concerned can be identified and punished.
â€œWe make bold to state that this allegation is a complete falsehood, callous and malicious. We recall that this is not the first time such unfounded allegations were made against the NNPC.
â€œThe Senator Magnus Abe-led Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) called all the stakeholders in the downstream sub-sector for a public hearing over similar allegations. No one came out to confirm the allegations,â€ Ibrahim stated.
He said petroleum marketers under the aegis of IPMAN and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) have come up with statements denying ever paying any amount of money beyond the approved N40.90 per litre at depot price for kerosene, adding: â€œOur depots are known, 22 of them across the country. And members of our staff are also known. It will help the system if those making the allegations could furnish us with evidence of extortion so that we could investigate and take necessary action. Until we are given evidence, we maintain that what is reported remains a rumour.â€