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Marketers halt loading of petroleum products over polls’ anxiety

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NNPC cautions consumers against panic buying

FEAR of the unknown over the on-going electoral process may have forced petroleum marketers in the country to stop loading of products.

The Guardian investigations yesterday revealed that majority of the oil depots were shut when our correspondent visited the Apapa area of Lagos where fuel depots like the MRS, Aiteo, A-Z, Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company (NIPCO), Conoil, among others.

They may have stopped loading of products for fear of safety of staff and their facilities. A worker in a major oil marketing firm, who spoke with The Guardian on condition of anonymity, said the workers were also ordered to close by 2.00pm, as the nation awaits the results of the presidential, House of Assembly and Senate elections.

According to him, there was uneasy calm among the workers and management staff of the companies with speculations that some oil depot might be the target of hoodlums. Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had called on members of the public to shun panic buying and stock-piling of petrol as there is enough stock of the product to keep the country going for two months.

This statement by the national oil company serves as respite for consumers who might have been anticipating scarcity due to stoppage of loading. Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Ohi Alegbe, put the current stock of premium motor spirit (petrol) in its depots across the country at about 1.9 billion litres.

Alegbe also appealed to tanker drivers who had stopped hauling fuel from depots in the coastal states to the Northern part of the country for fear of being caught in fears of post-election violence, to return to work as the corporation is working closely with security agencies to provide maximum security for them. He also cautioned marketers to desist from capitalizing on the situation to hoard and divert petroleum products thereby subjecting Nigerians to unnecessary hardship. According to him, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has directed the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to sanction any marketer found hoarding, diverting or selling products above regulated prices.



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