January 26, 2023

Petrol: NARTO seeks support for NNPCL as scarcity bites harder

By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja

As more stations ran out of stock yesterday as queues grew longer at petrol stations in Abuja, the National President of Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, Alhaji Yusuf Lawal Othman, has called for more support for NNPC Retail Limited to ensure the availability of the product across the country.

NNPC Retail, a subsidiary of the national oil company, NNPC Limited, recently acquired downstream assets of OVH Energy, owners of Oando filling stations, making it the largest retail outlet owner in the country.

Checks around the Abuja city centre showed that most stations were without the product with a very long queue observed at NNPC Retail’s mega station.

Alhaji Othman who spoke to journalists on efforts to ease the shortage noted that across the country, NNPC stations were dispensing at the same price unlike outlets owned by major and independent marketers.

He therefore called for more support for the outfit to enable consumers to have access to petrol at government approved price, pointing out that reports suggesting NNPC Retail outlets were diverting petrol to black marketers were false.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, the President of NARTO decried what he called the deliberate distortion of narrative surrounding the shortfall and non availability of the products by certain forces in the downstream sector who continued to blame the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, (NNPCL) retail outlets for scarcity of the products.

“As far as we are concerned the NNPCL retailers are the largest retail outlet in the country. As of today, they are the only marketing company that sells fuel at the same price everywhere in the country.

“The same price in Lagos, same price in Abuja. So you will see some envy by other marketers and from experience, personally my own company has been working with NNPC retail in the last 15 years. I know their pedigree and their capacity”.

Alhaji Othman appealed to his members and others involved in the haulage of petroleum products to refrain from activities that could sabotage the federal government efforts to surmount the challenge crippling effective movement of goods and services.

“Let me use this opportunity to call on our law-abiding and patriotic members who are into the transportation of petroleum products to please desist from illegal bunkering, smuggling and diversion of petroleum products because these actions are detrimental to the economy of our great nation. This Association will not support, defend, or sympathize with anyone caught committing these crimes”.