NARTO, tanker drivers vow to expose persons sabotaging fuel distribution

Fuel Queue used to illustrate the story.

The National Association of Road Transport Owners, NARTO, and allied unions under the aegis of Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, on Thursday vowed to expose anyone, including their members sabotaging the smooth distribution of petroleum products in the country.

The two groups gave the commitment during a stakeholders’ meeting on the challenges of products supply and distribution led by the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources Downstream, Joseph Akinlaja.

The meeting is part of ongoing efforts by the NNPC to find lasting solutions to the hiccups currently being experienced in the supply and distribution of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise called petrol, in parts of the country.

The NARTO National President, Kassim Bataiya and the PTD National Chairman, Salimon Oladiti, said their focus was to end the current hardship experienced by Nigerians at filling stations.

“We are transporters. We know how many litres of fuel we have been moving across the country every day. If anybody is found guilty of smuggling products out of the country or to any unauthorised locations within the country, even if they are our members, we would not only disown them, we will also expose them,” Mr. Bataiya vowed.

Noting efforts by the NNPC to make products available to Nigerians, the NARTO National President assured that its members would ensure that trucks were made available to deliver products to any destination at any given time.

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He said their coming to the meeting was to show solidarity with the NNPC and to pledge their continuous support to the corporation.

The official frowned at a situation where the NNPC was the only importer of refined petroleum products at the moment, saying government should encourage other marketers to complement its efforts.

On his part, the PTD National Chairman, Mr. Oladiti condemned the activities of unpatriotic citizens who engage in smuggling of products outside the country and subjected Nigerians to the current hardship.

Mr. Oladiti called on all interest groups to join hands with others to address the issues of tanker hijacking, vandalism and smuggling, amongst others, assuring that tanker drivers would work to ensure the coming Christmas holiday was not disrupted by products scarcity.

Mr. Akinlaja, who led the unions to visit the NNPC, said he was confident the outcome of the meeting would help end the crisis within the next few days.

On the allegation of products diversion, he stated that the House of Representatives would investigate the issue and come up with workable solutions.

Responding, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, noted the support by critical groups like the House of Representatives, NARTO and PTD in addressing the challenges of products supply nationwide.

He said the NNPC would partner with relevant interest groups to address the issues raised at the meeting, including collaboration with security agencies as well as state governments to secure befitting parking spaces for tankers at designated places.

Mr. Baru said in line with NNPC’s commitment to transparency, it has commenced the automation of loading pumps in all its fuel depots nationwide.

The GMD, who decried the activities of some unscrupulous elements involved in products diversion, said volume of products supplied into the market has been increased until the problem is resolved.

He said the NNPC plans to import at least 1 billion litres of petrol by the end of December.

The Chairman of NNPC committee on products supply and distribution, who is also the corporation’s chief operating officer, Ventures, Babatunde Adeniran, said products diversion was a major challenge that must be fought by all and sundry.

He lamented for instance, a situation where eight trucks were sent to Bauchi State and, “none of them delivered products at their destination.”

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