Despite assurances, many oil marketers, yesterday, continued to sell petrol at an average of N170 per litre in different parts of the country, according to Vanguard investigation.
Our Correspondents, who went out to monitor developments at filing stations across the nation, said those mainly owned by independent marketers, sold the product at N167 per litre, while others, especially on the outskirts of cities such as Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt sold in excess of N170 per litre.
Nevertheless, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, sold the product at N162 in most filling stations visited yesterday.
In a statement obtained by Vanguard, NNPC stated that it was not contemplating any rise in the price of petrol in March in order not to jeopardize ongoing engagements with organized labour and other stakeholders on an acceptable framework that will not expose the ordinary Nigerian to hardship.
It stated: “NNPC has enough stock of petrol to keep the nation well supplied for over 40 days and urged motorists to avoid panic buying.
‘’We, therefore, call on relevant regulatory authorities to step up monitoring of the activities of marketers with a view to sanctioning those involved in products hoarding or arbitrary increase of pump price.”
DPR threatens sanction
However, the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR has threatened to sanction marketers caught perpetrating irregularities, including hoarding and profiteering.
Mr. Paul Osu, Head, Public Affairs, said in a statement: “The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has issued warning to marketers against hoarding of Petroleum products in their outlets.
‘’The Director/CEO DPR Sarki Auwalu, gave this warning following the emergence of queues in retail outlets in some states of the federation.
“He stated that from available records, there is product sufficiency in the country and that there was no need for hoarding by any marketer. He emphasized the the Department will not hesitate to apply appropriate sanctions on any outlet found wanting in this regard.
‘’He further stated that the agency has set up a special taskforce to intensify surveillance and monitoring of all retail outlets and depots nationwide to check the anomaly and advised the general public against panic buying.
‘’He assured that DPR will continue to provide its regulatory focus of quality, quantity, integrity and safety, QQIS, for the effective operations of the downstream sector.”
Why price is high
Meanwhile, Kano Branch Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Bashir DanMalam, has said that though the state had no shortage of product, marketers were buying at exorbitant rate.
Speaking in a telephone chat, DanMalam said the marketers bought at ex-depot price of N165 per litre rather than N148 per litre.
The price hike is mainly attributed to the latest rise in oil price, according to figures obtained from the international market.
Specifically, crude oil prices witnessed a marginal increase, as traders focused on the upcoming OPEC+ talks and US inventories data.
Brent, the International benchmark, surged by 0.19% to $63.81 while the West Texas Intermediate (WTI), rose by $0.24 or 0.40% to $60.88 while Nigeria’s grade of crude, Bonny Light witnessed a decline of 0.37 cent or 0.58% to $63.96 per barrel.
Organised Labour, yesterday threatened a massive picketing and disruption of business operations of marketers if the current hoarding and artificial scarcity of premium motor spirit, PMS, continued nationwide.
Labour called on relevant regulatory agencies of government to rise to the protection of the interests of the majority of Nigerians from the exploitative hands of market forces bent on making maximal profits from the sufferings of fellow citizens.
In communiqué by President and Acting General Secretary of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Ayuba Wabba, and Bello Ismail, respectively, at the end of the National Executive Council, NEC, meeting, Labour said: ‘’NEC also condemned in very strong terms the current hoarding and ensuing artificial scarcity of the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, commonly known as ‘petrol’ in fuel stations in major cities in Nigeria.
‘’The NEC also observed that most of the Fuel Stations only use one pump to dispense petrol in the affected cities.
“The NEC called on relevant regulatory agencies of government to rise to the protection of the interests of the majority of Nigerians from the exploitative hands of market forces who are bent on making maximal profits from the sufferings of fellow citizens.
‘’NEC warned that should the current artificial scarcity persist, the various leadership structures of the NLC should picket petrol stations found to be inflicting pains on Nigerians.”
Refineries Not Created To Reduce Petrol Price, Kyari Tells Senate
Forty eight hours after being summoned by the Senate, the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari, has now appeared before the joint committee on appropriations.
The Senate had issued a 24-hour ultimatum on Wednesday to the NNPCL boss after an observations that he had in previous occasions, shunned summons by the Senate to appear before its ad-committee probing over 11 trillion naira expenditure on turn around maintenance of refineries in the country between 2010 and 2023.
Responding to questions by the senate committee on appropriations on the potential drop in pump price of petroleum owing to the expected functionality of refineries, Kyari clarified his comment after he was interrogated again. He explained that it might be possible to have a reduction, but it is not the main objective of the refineries.
He buttressed that maintaining the energy security target has fostered the confidence that in 2024, Nigeria will become a net exporter of petroleum products.
The NNPCL boss affirmed that no subsidy is charged to the federation, adding that the NNPC has contributed 4.45 trillion naira as direct revenue into the federation in a combination of taxes, royalties and dividends and paid 406 billion naira as dividend to Federal Government’s account from July 2023.
According to him, Nigeria does not have credible data for PMS consumption in the country because of the absence of the instrument to measure.
The Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, had on Wednesday, directed Kyari to appear before the committee in 24 hours.
Olamilekan, who asked Kyari to appear in company of the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), warned that failure to appear undermines the legislature and sabotages the process.
They are required to present the list of all individual companies operating with OML licenses in Nigeria as well as total production output approved on a daily basis.
The lawmaker expressed concerns that some of the revenues required to drive the 2024 budget was attributed to the NNPCL, which according to him, was owned by the Federal Government and responsible to it, and by extension the three arms of government. Channels TV.
Labour Leaders Meet To Work Out Living Wages
Ahead of the expected resumption of negotiation between the Federal Government and the organised labour on the new Minimum Wage, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, is meeting in Abuja to brainstorm so as to arrive at a living wage that is commensurate with the prevailing cost of living.
This came as the NLC has vowed not to be deterred by the recent assault on workers and their leaders in Imo State, which it said poses a grave threat to freedom of association and collective bargaining as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining.
These were contained in the welcome address by the NLC President, Mr. Joe Ajaero, at the Opening Session of the NLC 2023 Harmattan School with the theme: “Building Workers’ Skills for Policy Engagement” in Abuja.
Ajaero, represented by the Congress Deputy President, Benjamin Anthony said: “In the face of adversity and brutality encountered while advocating for the rights of workers to earn their legitimate income and benefits, our resolve remains unwavering. We are motivated to continue our efforts towards achieving decent work and improving working conditions in the formal and informal sectors of the economy.
“The recent assault on workers and their leaders in Imo State poses a grave threat to freedom of association and collective bargaining as enshrined in Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining, and should unequivocally be condemned by all people of goodwill.
“The only thing that can assuage our pains is for the Imo State Government to address all labour issues and return the so called ‘ghost workers’ to their jobs, pay all outstanding salaries and pensions and call back all victimized workers to their jobs.
“It has become very necessary for governments at all levels to recognize that life and living conditions are exceedingly difficult, especially for working people in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy.”
“The removal of subsidy on petroleum products has further exacerbated the challenges faced by working people, unleashing severe pain and contributing to galloping inflation and increasing inequality and poverty.
“We must reckon that a well-motivated and well-remunerated workforce has a positive impact on productivity and national development,” he added.
He implored participants to approach the training programme with a quest and thirst for knowledge through asking of questions and sharing of experiences with the facilitators and with one another.
He thanked the representative of the Minister of Labour and Employment, the Country Director of the ILO for the English Speaking, West African Countries, the Director General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, the Resident Representative of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, FES, Country Director of the Solidarity Centre, members of the NAC, CWC and NEC of the NLC for finding time to attend the Opening Session of the 2023 School.
Operatives Of NDLEA Uncover Illicit Drugs Concealed In Dolls, Local Soap, Milo Tins
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have uncovered illicit substances bound for Europe, United Arab Emirates and Asia.
Disclosing this in a statement on Sunday, NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi, said the illicit substances intercepted included various quantities of methamphetamine and opioids concealed in hems of new jeans trousers, dolls, buttons, local soap and tins of milo beverage.
Noting that the operation was carried out by operatives of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigation (DOGI) at courier houses in Lagos, he said some of the items seized included tramadol 225mg concealed in hems of new jeans trousers heading to Cyprus; shipment of cannabis sativa hidden in heads of dolls going to Dubai; sachets of tramadol 225mg buried in tins of milo beverage going to UAE; and another set of same drug hidden in local soap also going to UAE.
Others were a consignment of methamphetamine concealed in buttons heading to Hong Kong; and a shipment of another illicit substance coming from Florida, USA.
“Operatives in Lagos on Friday 1st December also arrested a drug kingpin, Okechukwu Ogala, 56, who specialises in exploiting and recruiting young citizens to export meth to Asian countries.
“He was arrested at Blue Moon Hotel in Okota area of Lagos with 60 wraps of methamphetamine weighing 1.009 kilograms.
“In another operation in Lagos, operatives on Friday 1st December recovered 393kgs of cannabis in a shop at Akala, Mushin while a suspect, Justin Enuonye, who deals in Canadian Loud was arrested by the police at Victoria Island and transferred to Lagos Command of NDLEA on Friday 1st December with 154 parcels weighing 92kgs.
“A team of NDLEA operatives also intercepted a vehicle at Oyingbo area of Lagos and recovered 108kgs of cannabis from it, while 675 kilograms of the same substance were recovered from the store of a wanted dealer, Wahab Olota at Adedoja area of Mushin, Lagos,” Babafemi said. Channels TV.
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