Some players in the downstream sector of the nation’s petroleum industry under the auspices of the Association of Mega Filling Station Owners of Nigeria, AMFSON have revealed what can make them expose those behind the lingering fuel scarcity plaguing the country.
They expressed readiness to mention the names of those responsible for the biting fuel distribution crisis if only they can have a ‘one-on-one’ meeting with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, who would also pledge to guarantee their safety afterwards.
Addressing a press conference in Kaduna yesterday, the National Secretary of AMFSON, Mr. Kenneth Nwachukwu noted that his members had, in recent past, resisted the urge to uncover the saboteurs, even when the minister encouraged them to mention the names.
He alleged that several trucks of fuel had been diverted into black markets by the perceived saboteurs at the detriment of mega stations owners and Nigerians in general, adding that the inability of their members to access their fuel papers several months after depositing millions of naira for supply had contributed immensely to the current fuel crisis.
Noting that it was in a bid to cushion the toll of fuel scarcity that the immediate past government established mega affiliate stations, Nwachukwu lamented that even with a body like AMFSON the situation persisted unabated. He charged the minister to address the plight of the marketers to help in ending the fuel crisis.
According to him, “the minister said we should mention names, but you know Nigerians, when you come out in public to mention names of the saboteurs, they can go after you, so it is something that if it is possible to do one on one with the minister and assure of our safety, we can tell him, there is nothing to be feared because we have evidence of how fuel is being diverted into the black markets.
“We have evidence of everything we are saying about this fuel crisis. The minister said we should mention names that if we mention names, the person will not last 24 hours. But it is not proper to mention names in public, we are giving information, it is left for the minister to go underground and work on the information and get to the root of what we are saying.
“This is corruption in the highest order. We are now crying out, we met twice with the minister and we told him that NNPC retail staff have refused to bring us into the mainstream of fuel distribution. But they can’t be the accused and the judges at the same time.
“Sometimes it is our names they use in bringing out that product, but it never got to us.
“When we met the minister for the first time, around October last year, we discovered that the NNPC Retail staff deceived him to embark on building new 800 filling stations, but it does not make sense to build 800 stations when the old ones on ground have not been serviced.
“So when we met him, we told him about our own plight, that these staff believe that NNPC Retail belongs to them, and not to the Nigerian people, they believe it is their birth right, these are staff that are earning salaries.
“We told the minister of our problem that these staff refused to work with us as an association, they prefer to work with us on individual basis, so that if you are dying as an individual, you can’t talk, and if you talk, they drive you out of the business.”