Oil marketers and depot owners have clashed over allegations of diversion of 16.6 billion litres of fuel to neighbouring countries.
A top official of the Depots and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, who craved anonymity, revealed that the unabated fuel scarcity was partly due to the diversion of products to neighbouring countries by marketers.
According to the source, about 46 million litres of petrol is being diverted daily.
This means about 16.6 billion litres is allegedly being diverted annually.
Findings showed that Nigeria consumes 60 million litres of petrol daily.
“We had a meeting with the PPMC some weeks ago, and part of the complaints was that the volume we load is too high, forcing them to reduce the volume they give to us. From their records, they said marketers loaded 106 million litres per day as of April. Nigeria consumes 60 million litres per day, where are the remaining litres of fuel going? They are taken outside the country. That’s a product Nigeria is paying heavily to subsidise, and marketers are busy taking it out and denying Nigerians full benefits of what they pay for,” our source said.
The diversion allegation came on the heels of the return of long queues at filling stations across the country.
On Wednesday, it was found that petrol was sold above N175 per litre, and as of Thursday, the price had increased to N180 per litre.
The Managing Director/CEO – 11plc formerly Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, and former chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, Tunji Oyebanji, that members of the association were opposed to smuggling.
“Our members are law-abiding and can never engage in such activity. Our members own 33, 000 stations in the country, and we move about 50-60 per cent of products available for consumption. So, we are opposed to smuggling because it causes a huge problem for the country,” he said.
The Executive Secretary, MOMAN, Clement Isong, said that its members operate a fully integrated business model, adding that it would be impossible to smuggle products out of the country.
“They know who they are accusing, and it’s definitely not our members. We buy products from the NNPC to our depots, and then distribute them to our stations. So, they can’t be accusing major oil marketers of diversion because we run a fully integrated business model”, he said.
“If it is true, then, it takes two to tango”, National Operations Controller, The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi revealed when asked to react to the allegation.
Osatuyi denied the claim that IPMAN members were responsible for the smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries.
“They should go and ask the Customs, police, NIA and others whether they see our members’ trucks carrying such products across the borders. Why are they accusing marketers of smuggling when we have those who are being paid to police our borders?” he said.