The Department of State Services (DSS) on Thursday gave a 48-hour ultimatum to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and other stakeholders in the oil sector to resolve the current fuel crisis.
The secret service police vowed to go after them if queues did not disappear after 48 hours.
DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, announced the ultimatum in Abuja while addressing reporters after the Director-General of DSS, Yusuf Bichi, met with the stakeholders in the industry.
The meeting was attended by officials of the NNPC Ltd, IPMAN, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) as well as Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN).
Others were officials of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD).
Since the past few months, petrol scarcity has persisted with many marketers increasing the price of the product in Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Lagos and other parts of the country without the federal government’s approval.
The product currently sells between N250 and N300 per litre in many parts of the country.
Private depots in Port Harcourt, Lagos and other cities has increased the ex-depot price to N235/litre as against the approved N148.17/litre.
Afunanya said the stakeholders at yesterday’s meeting agreed to end the fuel scarcity.
He said all DSS commands has been placed on red alert and would commence operations to bring defaulters to book.
Why we intervened in fuel crisis – Secret police
Afunanya explained that the DSS’ intervention was to prevent any security implications or negative dimensions that could arise from the current petrol scarcity.
He said the service was being proactive by curbing what could cause incitement in the country during the Yuletide.
“The DSS called the meeting because of the security implications that may arise from this trend, and we say enough is enough! Whatever hurdles, the trend must be resolved. We will not continue to tolerate fuel scarcity. You must ensure adequate supply.
“Some people may want to query that what is our business in the fuel issue? We make bold to say that the service is charged with the mandate of detecting and preventing crimes and criminalities that may want to jeopardize internal security of which this one is not an exception,” he said.
‘NNPC has 1.9bn litres in stock’
The DSS spokesman said NNPCL has expressed its commitment to liaising with depot owners under the aegis of DAPMAN in order to sell petrol to marketers at the ex-depot price.
He also quoted the NNPCL as disclosing that it had about 1.9 billion litres of fuel in stock which could last beyond the period of the Yuletide.
“We are not saying it is sabotage, but if it comes to economic sabotage, we will rise to the occasion. At the meeting, everybody was frank. NNPCL stated that there is sufficiency of fuel. But why the scarcity? We, however, resolved as follows:
“That the NNPCL will continue to make the products available at ex-depot price to all marketers. It was also agreed that the NNPCL would decentralize its distribution across the country.
“Then, MOMAN and NNPCL will review the issue of supply and distribution on daily basis, and that marketers will operate on 24 hours basis.