The Federal Government and critical stakeholders in the nation’s oil and gas sector on Tuesday inaugurated a committee saddled with the responsibility of finding long-term solutions to petrol scarcity in the country.
The Minister of State, Petroleum, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu made this known to newsmen after a closed door meeting involving government officials, labour leaders and stakeholders in the oil sector.
The meeting, which was presided over by the Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari, was held at the old Banquet hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Kachikwu, who is to head the committee, said members of the committee included the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru and representatives of agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum.
According to him, membership of the committee also includes Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), labour unions, Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN) and NOMAN.
Kachikwu noted that petrol scarcity was a major concern and Nigerians should not be made to suffer, assuring that the committee would come out with lasting solution to the persistent petrol crisis in the country.
He reiterated that appropriate sanctions would be taken against any marketer or staff implicated in fuel diversion or any act capable of frustrating government’s efforts aimed at stabilizing the supply of petroleum products across the country.
“”In fact the chief of staff instructed that specific names should be put on the table, those who have gone against the rule, done certain things that are against the book should be punished.
““But the greatest difficult in Nigeria is that people make allegations but when you ask for evidence even one, everybody now goes back into the safety nets. You cannot prosecute except you have evidence.”
The Chairman of Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN), Mr Dapo Abiodun, said the meeting was called at the instance of the chief of staff to the president and it was to find out exactly what happened.
““He wanted to know the truth and to ensure that this problem will be solved once and for all.
““From our point of view as marketers, we made our submission known to government and we emphasized the fact that this was not a marketer-related problem.
““There was no hoarding on the part of any marketer. Marketers are your brothers, they are Nigerian citizens, they are businessmen, no marketer makes money from hoarding petroleum products, our business is to take petrol and sell,’’ he explained.