By Dennis Agbo
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN), SouthEast Zone has vowed to shutdown depots and filling stations over an alleged incessant police harassment on its leaders.
South East Chairman of the association, Prince Bobby Eberechi Dick made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen in Enugu, during the weekend.
He said that the move to close all the depots and filling stations was reached at after series of meetings with some stakeholders from the zone on the alleged new move by the Police Legal unit at the force headquarters, Abuja.
He alleged that the move was to arrest its executives across the zone and possibly install factional leadership, nothing that “the action, if carried out, would lead to more crisis in the association in spite of various court pronouncements laying the matter to rest.”
The South East zone of IPMAN has over 40 depots and 10,000 petrol stations with about 20 000 members and has been having a running battle with officers of the Nigeria Police over alleged attempt by the police to “impose” a factional leadership on the association.
The chairman frowned at the alleged illegal moves by the police authorities and some “disgruntled elements” to either misinterpret the Supreme Court ruling or subvert the will of the people.
He said their aim was to impose their cronies on the association even when the facts of the matter are very clear.
He explained that the Attorney general of the Federation in a letter, copied to Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo and his faction, who lost out at the Supreme Court, had acknowledged Alhaji Sanusi Fari as authentic National President of IPMAN as well as his Depot/Unit chairmen.
In the same vain, the minister of petroleum Resource. Timiore Sylva, in a letter dated January 27th 2020 congratulated Engr Sanusi Abdu fari and promised to work with the new leadership.
There is a current judgement from federal high court calabar restraining police or their cronies from interfering in the internal affairs of the Association. But trouble seems to be brewing again in IPMAN following a new twist to the interpretation of the supreme court ruling . Police now seems to be a court that interpret court judgements. The New Deputy commissioner of police legal department force headquarters Abuja. Dcp Ochogwu Ogbeh W.A who had in a letter dated may 13 2022 advised the inspector General of police to recognize the chinedu Okoronkwo led faction of IPMAN and subsequently accord them necessary attention at the National headquarters and in the affected states.
His words: ”Following the legal advice, the police are putting all arsenals to arrest the current executives of IPMAN in Aba, Enugu Calabar, Markudi and Portharcourt depot and allegedly hand over their secretariat to the people of their choice.
“IPMAN warns that if further step shoud be taken by the Police to interfere with the current leadership of the association, we will shut down.
“IPMAN leadership has resolved to continue with their rights in the constitution and abide by the extant laws and subsisting judgments of the courts in their favour,” Prince Bobby said.