By Emma Nnadozie
A major crisis was averted, weekend, in Lagos State, when a group of oil marketers protested inhumane acts against them by owners of tank farms in Kirikiri, Apapa area of the state, after they had allegedly paid over N400 million to three oil companies for the supply of the commodity.
The aggrieved marketers, who protested at the Tank Farms of Techno and Index Oil, alleged that the money was paid through Florence Petroleum and Kaithorn Oil for the delivery of over 1000 litres of petroleum products, for which they failed to fulfil their part of the deal.
The victims, numbering over 10 persons, alleged that the oil companies had been using policemen to intimidate and harass them. They called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, to come to their aid.
Speaking with journalists at the site of the tank farms, one of the marketers, Mrs Monsurat Adenike, alleged that they made payments for the products in July 2019, and they assured them of delivery.
According to Adenike: “We paid to a marketer in early July and the product was brought to the tank farms. But, after we were given the first batch, they refused to deliver the second till now.
“We made a report to the oil companies but they have continued to dribble us, saying that the matter is in the hands of Inspector General of Police, IGP, in Abuja. We are calling on Nigerians to come to our aid because they want to dupe us.
“It is true that we paid to Florence Petroleum Limited, the firm that brings products to Kaithorn Oil and, after the first delivery, we have been hearing different excuses from them.
“We buy from Techno through Florence Petroleum, but we don’t know what happened this time around. We have lost so much on this transaction. We have equally spent over N20 million to get back what rightly belongs to us, yet they resisted our efforts and almost crushed us with their trucks.
“We are no longer interested in taking products from Techno Oil, they should refund our money back to us. We have evidence of all our payments.”
However, the spokespersons for Techno Oil, Messrs Bob Onyeama and Folarin Odufuwa, denied the allegations made by the oil marketers. The duo said the allegations levelled against their company were false because Techno Oil does not have any direct dealings with them.
Speaking on behalf of Florence Petroleum, a man who introduced himself as Dr Henry told Vanguard on the phone that Florence Oil is also a victim because they paid Techno Oil for products, but they could not deliver the whole products they paid for. “We had to invite the police in Abuja. Honestly, I sympathize with the marketers, but it was not our making. We are also victims and we are fighting to get the full products we paid for so that the marketers will also get theirs.”