By Haruna Salami
Private Taxi Owners Association of Nigeria (PTOAN) has commended the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Limited (NNPL), Mele Abba Kyari for his commitment at resolving the fuel crisis.
The group dissociated itself from the planned mass protest occasioned by scarcity of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) across the country, saying the action would not be in the best interest of the association, the business community and the country.
In a statement on Saturday which was signed by the National Chairman, Mallam Bala Madaki Tiskea and Mr. Ayodele Femi (Baba Arrival) National Secretary and made available to journalists in Abuja, the association believes in “negotiation and a roundtable discussion on finding a lasting solution to the perennial fuel scarcity rather than embarking on protest that would further disrupt the economy”.
The Association said no government of the day would live to see activities of the nation being paralysed due to fuel scarcity, stressing that “there might be unresolved issues” with the supply chain in the oil and gas industry, which it hoped, time should be given to the Federal Government tackle factors militating against fuel supplies in the country.
The statement commended the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Limited, Mele Kyari and his management for their commitment to reforms in the oil and gas industry, noting that the ongoing reforms would no doubt bring a lasting solution to fuel scarcity in Nigeria.
According to the Association, the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has already captured what it takes to sanitise the upstream and downstream oil and gas industry, which they said the implementation may not be in the best interest of saboteurs, a development, the association said, it sympathized with the NNPL.
PTOAN further condemned some stakeholders in the oil and gas industry who are hell-bent on sabotaging the effort of government leading to endless scarcity of fuel, which they alleged was meant to stoke civil unrest across the country, adding the Steering Committee on fuel scarcity which was recently constituted should have ample time to investigate activities of saboteurs.
The Association quoted the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to have said in September, 2022 that “the daily consumption of petrol in Nigeria stood at 66.8 million litres, hence, the NNPL as sole importer of fuel has often confirmed sufficiency of fuel across depots in the country”, insisting that the scarcity being experienced was artificial which was caused by saboteurs.
Part of PTOAN’s statement said “we are dissociating ourselves from the planned mass protest due to fuel scarcity across the country because we believed that all stakeholders in the oil and gas industry can discuss the perennial fuel scarcity at a roundtable with a view to finding a lasting solution.
“The mass protest, in our view, would not be in the best interest of our association, the business community and the nation, particularly ahead of next month’s general election which is critical to the smooth transition of the country from one regime to another.
“We commend the Group Managing Director, Mele Abba Kyari, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipreye Sylva for their commitment, despite resistance by some elements, we consider as saboteurs”.