By Victor Ahiuma-Young, Sebastine Obasi & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THE Federal Government yesterday gave the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, and the Group Managing Director, GMD of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Maikanti Baru, the matching order to clear the queues in filling stations in the country before weekend.
The government also said there was no plan to increase the pump price of petroleum products as speculated.
Government’s marching order came as the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, blamed those it called downstream sector’s cabal for the scarcity, arguing that its members in the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, branch, were working and lifting products to the nooks and crannies of the country.
This is even as the scarcity worsened yesterday, with petrol stations witnessing very long vehicular queues that compounded traffic in Lagos.
Briefing State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the rumour that there was plan to increase fuel pump price was not correct.
He said: “The government has no intention at all to increase the pump price of PMS.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources assured the council that we have enough products till the next one month, even till the end of January.
“This is winter period, there is always more demand for refined petroleum products during winter period in the colder countries. This is what we are experiencing now.
“It has been the NNPC that has been importing but he (GMD) has assured. The council gave him a matching order that this fuel scarcity should not last beyond this weekend and they are going to work very hard to ensure that it is curtailed. He assured council that there is actually no cause for alarm.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, yesterday blamed those it described as downstream sector cabal for the current scarcity,.
According to the union, its members in the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, branch are working and lifting products to the nooks and crannies of the country.
In a statement signed by its president, Igwe Achese, the union said: “NUPENG is not responsible for the present shortage of petroleum products being experienced nationwide.
“Our members in the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, branch of NUPENG are working and lifting products to the nooks and crannies of the country.”