By Victor Ahiuma-Young
IBADAN—THE National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, weekend in Ibadan Oyo State, warned Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, a branch of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, against conniving with smugglers of petroleum products, noting that anyone caught in the act would face the consequences.
This came as the body urged the National Assembly to jettison any plan to scrap the Petroleum Equalization Fund, PEF, warning that it would worsen fuel distribution crisis across the country.
In his address at the Branch Executive Council meeting of PTD, in Ibadan, Oyo State, President of NARTO, Alhaji Kassim Bataiya, insisted that the role of PEF in fuel distribution in the country was very vital.
Bataiya said: “We cannot overemphasize the important and invaluable contribution of the Petroleum Equalization Fund to the availability and accessibility of Petroleum products at the government approved prices to every Nigerian citizen wherever residing.
”In fact, it would have been extremely difficult if not practically impossible for citizens in far North West, North East and some interior places in the south West, east and even South South to have access to petroleum products and buy it at the approved prices if Petroleum Equalization Fund had not been in existence.”
“So, we want to use this opportunity to say it will be rather unfortunate if the statement is true, considering the pivotal roles of PEF in the effective and efficient distribution of Petroleum products in the country. We earnestly urge senator Marafa and members of the National Assembly to have a rethink over this matter to avoid worsening and compounding fuel distribution crisis in the country.”
Bataiya also called on drivers not to allow themselves to be used by smugglers of petroleum products outside the country, warning that “any one found guilty of such is not with us.”