June 23, 2009

Edo IPMAN sues state govt

By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—THE Indepen dent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Edo State chapter, has dragged the state government to the High Court in Benin  over the recent inauguration of the Petroleum Monitoring Task Force by the state government.

In the originating summons made available to Vanguard in Benin City yesterday, IPMAN is challenging the legality and constitutionality of setting up the task force, which was saddled with the responsibility of monitoring the selling, quality and movement of petroleum products in the state.

It would be recalled that following the artificial scarcity of petroleum products that occurs occasionally in the state, the state government decided to inaugurate the task force to check the excesses of the dealers who create the artificial scarcity to exploit the people.

But IPMAN described it as illegal and complained to the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Consequently, in a letter dated June 18, 2009, signed by one I.Olori, and addressed to the chairman of the Task Force, Mr. Amen Osunde, IPMAN said the task force lacked the powers to test flow metre pumps at filling stations and reminded that “item 65 of the Exclusive List of 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic vests exclusively, the duties of testing and measuring of flow meter pumps on Weights and Measures Department of the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry”.

However, in its summon signed by its Counsel, K.O.Obamogie, IPMAN prayed the court to interpret or determine whether or not, in pursuant of section 4(2)(3)5(1) and item 39 of the exclusive legislative list set out in part 1 of the second schedule of the constitution and section 4,6 and 8 of the Petroleum Act, cap P10 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, Edo state Government was empowered to set up Edo state Petroleum Task Force Monitoring Team.

“ A declaration that the appointment of the 3rd defendant and his members as Chairman and members of Edo state Petroleum Task Force Monitoring Committee is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever” it stated.

The Court presided over by Justice M.I.Ighodaro, however, fixed July 1, 2009 , as date for the hearing.