The Department of State Services, DSS on Thursday slammed the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and other critical operators in the nation’s oil sector with 48 hours ultimatum to end scarcity of petrol in the country.
In the last couple of weeks long queue had returned to filling stations in all parts of the country with Nigerians not only spending long hours waiting to purchase the product, that is, if they could see it, but also ended up paying as much as between N 250 and N300 per a litre of it.
But speaking to journalists at a press conference on Thursday in Abuja, the DSS disclosed it held a closed – door meeting with NNPCL and others relevant operators in the sector and they have given their word to end the scarcity of the product.
The DSS spoke to newsmen through its spokesperson, Peter Afunanya.
He said all stakeholders in the sector agreed on the need to end the scarcity at the meeting with them, adding the DSS will provide security for the distribution of fuel across the country.
He said, “Today we held a meeting with NNPLC and other stakeholders in the downstream sector which include the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, depot operators among others,” Mr Afunanya said.
“We were clear and told them enough is enough on the lingering fuel scarcity. We told them they should resolve the hurdles right away. Nigerians have the right to have access to petroleum products. We told them we would not continue to tolerate the scarcity.”
Afunaya said the DSS has to intervene because of it is mandated by the constitution to prevent threats to national security as well as to prevent sabotage to the Nigerian economy.
“You might be wondering what our business is on this issue. Don’t forget the Constitution charged us with the mandate of detecting and preventing any threat against our internal security.
“We are also empowered to investigate economic sabotage of concern to national security,” he stated.
According to him, all the DSS commands in the country are on alert and would begin operations to bring defaulters to book.
“The major takeaway from our deliberation is that there is sufficient fuel that would last us throughout the yuletide and beyond in the country despite all other issues raised.
“The NNPCL said there are 1.9 billion barrels of petroleum in stock and all the stakeholders agreed to that.
“Among the resolutions reached at the end of the meeting is that the marketers will be operating for 24 hours on a daily basis.
“Also, tanker operators assured that all hands will be on deck to ensure the lifting of the products.
“Similarly, the NNPCL agreed to sell at ex-depot price. It also agreed to decentralise distributions to impact positively on marketers.
“We agreed to provide security for the seamless distribution of the products across the country. Distribution must improve and all challenges must be eliminated in the next 48 hours after which as a matter of urgency we will carry out operations across the country not minding whose ox is gored,” Afunanya said.