DSS cooperative economical with truth, Says contractor

…Warns Enough is Enough; ready to treat saboteurs as threat to National security

As NNPC assures it has sufficient product of about 2 billion litres

Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

Apparently embarrassed and miffed by the lingering petrol scarcity in the country, the Department of State Services on Thursday gave all the stakeholders in the fuel supply chain 48 hours deadline to restore normal supply of petroleum products at officially approved rate across the country or be ready to face the consequences of their actions.

The DSS warned that after the expiration of the deadline, anyone found to be acting as a saboteur to the supply of petroleum products in the country would be treated as a threat to national security by the security agency and made the face the wrath of the law.

This was the decision arrived at after a strategic meeting of the DSS, Nigerian National Petroleum company Limited, major marketers, depot owners, tanker drivers and independent marketers at the DSS headquarters in Abuja on Thursday.

Briefing journalists at the end of the extended meeting, the Spokesman for the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya, explained that the meeting became imperative to sound a strong and clear warning to those involved in making petroleum products available to Nigerians as there had been lingering scarcity over an extended period of time.

Afunanya said that the agency had to summon all the stakeholders to the meeting since it had become clear that the scarcity of petroleum products could lead trigger a serious threat to the security of the country and that they would not sit by and watch the country’s peace and security threatened by the action of fuel dealers and marketers in Nigeria.

Afunanya said, “We were clear and direct in telling the stakeholders in the fuel distribution system that enough is enough and that whatever is causing the scarcity of petroleum products in the country must be resolved immediately as Nigerians have the right to see and buy  fuel at the official price at all times.

“We also made it clear to them that the government will no longer tolerate any form of scarcity since the NNPC and all the parties involved agree that there is sufficient fuel in the depots across Nigeria and that those who may want to question our involvement in the issue should note that it touches on our core mandate of national security and wellbeing of Nigerians.

“We sounded  strong warning to all those concerned that it is no longer going to be business as usual in the petroleum supply system and that anyone who is obstructing the distribution of fuel will be made to face the full weight of the law and that such elements would be treated as enemies of Nigeria.

“That going forward the DSS is to carry out operations across the country to deal decisively with those obstructing the distribution of petroleum products to Nigerians at approved official rate.

“That it is our core mandate to detect and prevent threats to national security and that we are also charged with the responsibility of investigating national crimes and economic sabotage and that if that is established, we would go all out to fish out those involved and dealt with in accordance with the laws of Nigeria.

“One of the major takeaways from the meeting was that NNPc has more than 1.9 billion litres in stock which is enough to last through the yuletide and beyond, a figure duly confirmed by all the stakeholders in the supply chain,” Afunanya said.

Among the resolutions reached at the meeting were:

Henceforth, NNPC is to continue to make fuel available to marketers especially Independent Petroleum Markers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, improve its distribution channels and network and to sell the products at approved ex-depot price to all marketers to impact positively on the marketers across the country,

MOMAN is to review daily supply with NNPC and to remove any form of bottleneck that may affect supply to all outlets in the system.

It was also resolved that marketers and tanker drivers are to provide 24-hour services while the DSS is to monitor compliance with the decisions reached and to deal with any form of sabotage.

NNPC and others gave a strong  commitment to  ensure fuel availability now, during the yuletide and beyond by ensuring 24-hour logging while depot owners agreed to also open for business 24 hours with improved security to be provided by the DSS and others.

It will be recalled that the supply of fuel has become problematic since last year and became worse this year due to variegated reasons advanced by the dealers, who are all clamouring for further price jerk despite only recently raising the cost of all products across board.

Most of them are also praying for the removal of subsidy to enable them to sell at their own price, a quest that the government has routinely turned down, saying that it was not the right time to remove subsidy, which now runs into trillions of Naira yearly.

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