Published On: Sun, Sep 29th, 2013

Fuel Crisis Looms as Oil Marketers Accuse House of Representative Committee of Interference, Witch Hunting

Speaker House Representative, Hon Aminu Tambuwa


By Oghenekekevwe Laba
LAGOS SEPTEMBER 29TH (URHOBOTODAY)-If the crisis that is gradually brewing between Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Warri Chapter and House of Representative Committee on Downstream Sector over interference and witch hunting by the House of Representative House Committee on Downstream Sector is not resolve at this early stage, there is the probability that it may generate to fuel crisis which will result in national fuel scarcity and ground the economy of Nigeria.
The Oil Marketers in a petition titled “Looming Crisis in the PPMC Warri Chapter Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) being Fueled by the House of Representatives Committee on Downstream Sector” signed by Comrade Alabi Oyebisi in which copies were sent to Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tanbuwal, Speaker Federal House of Representatives, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Abubakar Mohammed and Director General Department of State Security (DSS) Mr. Ita Ekpeyong and journalists accused members of House of Representative Committee of Downstream Sector of biase, intimidation and interference in their internal affairs in order to create disharmony within them,adding that the House Committee has jettisoned its recommendation which enjoined all parties to withdraw their cases from court to enable it grant audience to all parties in the crisis.
According to the petition in which a copy was made available to Urhobotoday, the Oil Marketers were however amazed that that even when several of such cases were still pending in the courts, the committee has decided to enforce its decisions without giving the various factions in the crisis the opportunity to table their grievances with a view to resolve them so as to avoid a resurrection of the issues that led to those grievances which led to the involvement of the house committee.
They argued that constitutional functions of the House of Representative is to make laws for the good governance of the citizens of the nation and not to witch hunt her citizens who have and are still contributing immensely to the oil and gas industry till date.
They alleged that the proposed panel set up by the national assembly to monitor the entire business affairs of IPMAN, Warri Chapter is already causing scare and disaffection as various stakeholders of the association knew that such a panel would jettison and jeopardise the overall interest of the association and its members.
“We believe more so that this panel is being a judge over its own case as its members already possessed some degree of bias against certain members of the association hence the panel may not be able to effectively execute its duties in a fair, equitable and justifiable manner. This is particularly evidenced in the fact that the various parties in the chapter who were allegedly accused were never given the opportunity to state their cases, defend themselves and clear their names from whatever complexities they were accused off,” the Oil Marketers argued. Consequently, they are demanding for the suspension of the proposed visit of the House of Representative panel pending when all the aggrieved and apprehensive chapter members and marketers have been fully assured that there shall be no likelihood of biasness, victimisation and harassment during and after the process. “It is worthy of note that even though IPMAN Warri Chapter has been engulfed with several issues that gave rise to internal wrangling amongst its members; such issues have been mutually, peacefully and tactically resolved.
“Furthermore, we also wish to promptly state that the said resolution of the national assembly with due respect was in our opinion shrouded with some political undertones hence the arbitrary formation of a panel which has been calculated to intimidate and oppress marketers who have been conducting their business affairs in a manner that is generally acceptable in the oil and gas industry.
“We believe that the setting up of the ‘kangaroo’ committee with the following members, Hon. Peter Akpatason (Chairman), Chief Akpos Edafevwotur (Vice Chairman),Chief Eddy Ossai, Chief Sunny Owuzo, Alhaji A.M Shettima, Chief John Kekeocha, Dahiru Baura (All members) has been constituted to directly or indirectly to hijack the business of the NNPC/PPMC and the commendable efforts they have been making to ensure that there is availability of products to the teaming population of Nigeria,” the statement disclosed.
The statement pointed out that the action of the said panel tends to send a wrong message that the Hon. Minister of Petroleum Resources, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, the Managing Director of PPMC, and IPMAN have not been working.
The statement added that the said action of the panel is a clear usurpation of powers and a clear case of insubordination to constituted authority as the aforementioned agencies have been responsible for the smooth sailing and availability of petroleum products in Nigeria and as such it will be counterproductive for this self centered panel to carry on such an exercise.
The Oil Marketers maintained that this a development that is capable of breaching the peace and tranquility prevalent in Warri and its environs.
They, consequently, called on the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Tambuwa to hearken to sound reasoning and use his good offices to prevail on the Hon. Dakuku Adol Peterside committee to suspend the said panel visitation pending when the issues relating to biasness, political undertones and intimidation were addressed by PPMC,IPMAN and the hallowed and revered chambers of the national assembly.
“We believe that the said mediation process has helped to a large extent by ensuring that all the aggrieved parties came to a consensus on how the issues were to be resolved amicably. However, the formation of the said seven man panel and its duties have watered down the supposed effect of the peace pact reached by the parties in a meeting carefully mediated over by the national assembly.
“Owing to the peculiar nature of IPMAN business activities and the various security issues we have been made to deal with in the past as a result of developments of this nature, we are imploring and appealing to the national assembly to swiftly suspend the said exercise.
“The proposed visit has been tagged a witch hunting exercise and as such stakeholders are becoming apprehensive of their investments and business concerns and as a result of this development we are calling on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, the Inspector General of Police, the Director General of State Security Services (SSS) and other law enforcement agencies to intervene in this matter for the greater good of the IPMAN Warri Chapter, PPMC, NNPC, our numerous customers and the general public. To be fore warned they say is to be fore harmed, let us give peace a chance and stop this political witch hunting,” the Marketers appealed.

BELOW IS THE FULL PRESS STATEMENT

CONCERNED INDEPENDENT PETROLEUM MARKETERS
PPMC YARD, WARRI DEPOT

MOTTO: EQUITY AND JUSTICE

27TH SEPT, 2013

RT. HON. AMINU TAMBUWAL,
SPEAKER,
FEDERAL HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY COMPLEX,
THREE-ARMS ZONE, PMB 141,
ABUJA-NIGERIA.

SIR,
LOOMING CRISIS IN THE PPMC WARRI DEPOT INDEPENDENT PETROLEUM MARKETERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (IPMAN) BEING FUELED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON DOWNSTREAM SECTOR.
FOLLOWING THE RESOLUTION PASSED BY THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY THROUGH THE HON. DAKUKU ADOL PETERSIDE, MHR LED COMMITTEE ON DOWNSTREAM SECTOR, ON THE 11TH DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 2013, ADDRESSED TO THE MANAGING DIRECTOR, PIPELINES AND PRODUCT MARKETING COMPANY OF NIGERIA (PPMC) NNPC TOWERS, CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT, ABUJA, WITH REFERENCE NO. NASS/7HR/CT.69/306, IT HAS BECOME EXPEDIENT FOR THE MARKETERS TO RESPOND TO SOME OF THE COMMITTEE’S DECISIONS.
FIRSTLY, ONE OF THE DECISIONS OF THE COMMITTEE WAS THAT ALL PARTIES WHO HAVE TAKEN THEIR VARIOUS GRIEVANCES TO COURTS WERE IMPLORED TO WITHDRAW SUCH CASES AS THE COMMITTE WILL GRANT AUDIENCE TO ALL THE FACTIONS IN THE CRISIS TO TABLE THEIR GRIEVANCES.
IT IS HOWEVER SHOCKING THAT EVEN WHEN SEVERAL OF SUCH CASES ARE STILL PENDING IN THE COURTS, THE COMMITTEE HAS DECIDED TO ENFORCE ITS OTHER DECISIONS WITHOUT GIVING THE VARIOUS FACTIONS IN THE CRISIS THE OPPORTUNITY TO TABLE THEIR GRIEVANCES WITH A VIEW TO RESOLVE THEM SO AS TO AVOID A RESURRECTION OF THE ISSUES THAT LED TO THOSE GRIEVANCES AND LED TO THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE.
WE BELIEVE THAT THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IN CARRYING OUT ITS CONSTITUTIONAL FUNCTIONS CLEARLY UNDERSTANDS THAT THE MAIN ESSENCE OF ITS EXISTENCE IS TO MAKE LAWS FOR THE GOOD GOVERNANCE OF THE CITIZENS OF OUR DEAR NATION AND NOT TO WITCH HUNT HER CITIZENS WHO HAVE AND ARE STILL CONTRIBUTING IMMENSELY TO THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY TILL DATE.
THE PROPOSED PANEL SET UP BY THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY TO MONITOR THE ENTIRE BUSINESS AFFAIRS OF IPMAN WARRI CHAPTER IS ALREADY CAUSING SCARE AND DISAFFECTION AS VARIOUS STAKEHOLDERS OF THE ASSOCIATION KNOW THAT SUCH A PANEL WILL JETTISON AND JEOPARDISE THE OVERALL INTESREST OF THE ASSOCIATION AND ITS MEMBERS. WE BELIEVE MORESO THAT THIS PANEL IS BEING A JUDGE OVER ITS OWN CASE, AS ITS MEMBERS ALREADY POSESS SOME DEGREE OF BIAS AGAINST CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATION: HENCE THE PANEL MAY NOT BE ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY CARRY ITS DUTIES IN A FAIR, EQUITABLE AND JUSTIFIABLE MANNER. THIS IS PARTICULARLY EVIDENCED IN THE FACT THAT THE VARIOUS PARTIES IN THE CHAPTER WHO WERE ALLEGEDLY ACCUSED WERE NEVER GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO STATE THEIR CASES, DEFEND THEMSELVES AND CLEAR THEIR NAMES FROM WHATEVER COMPLEXITIES COMPLAINED ABOUT. WE THUS BELIEVE THAT THE SAID VISIT OF THAT PANEL SHOULD BE SUSPENDED PENDING WHEN ALL THE AGGRIEVED AND APPREHENSIVE CHAPTER MEMBERS AND MARKETERS HAVE BEEN FULLY ASSURED THAT THERE SHALL BE NO LIKELIHOOD OF BIAS, VICTIMISATION AND HARRASMENT TO THEM DURING AND AFTER THE PROCESS. IT IS WORTHY OF NOTE THAT EVENTHOUGH THE IPMAN WARRI CHAPTER HAS BEEN ENGULFED WITH SEVERAL ISSUES THAT GAVE RISE TO INTERNAL WRANGLINGS AMONGST ITS MEMBERS; SUCH ISSUES HAVE BEEN MUTUALLY, PEACEFULLY AND TACTICALLY RESOLVED.
FURTHERMORE, WE ALSO WISH TO PROMPTLY STATE THAT THE SAID RESOLUTION OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY WITH DUE RESPECT WAS IN OUR OPINION SHROUDED WITH SOME POLITICAL UNDERTONES HENCE THE ARBITRAL FORMATION OF A PANEL WHICH HAS BEEN CALCULATED TO INTIMIDATE AND OPPRESS MARKETERS WHO HAVE BEEN CONDUCTING THEIR BUSINESS AFFAIRS IN A MANNER THAT IS GENERALLY ACCEPTABLE IN THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY.
WE BELIEVE THAT THE SETTING UP OF THE KANGAROO COMMITTEE WITH THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS: HON. PETER AKPATASON (CHAIRMAN), CHIEF AKPOS EDAFEVWOTUR (VICE CHAIRMAN),CHIEF EDDY OSSAI, CHIEF SUNNY OWUZO, ALHAJI A.M SHETTIMA, CHIEF JOHN KEKEOCHA, DAHIRU BAURA (ALL MEMBERS) HAS BEEN CONSTITUTED TO DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY HIJACK THE BUSINESS OF THE NNPC/PPMC AND THE COMMENDABLE EFFORTS THEY HAVE BEEN MAKING TO ENSURE THAT THERE IS AVAILABILITY OF PRODUCTS TO THE TEAMING POPULATION OF NIGERIA. THE ACTION OF THE SAID PANEL TENDS TO SEND A WRONG MESSAGE THAT THE HON. MINISTER OF PETROLEUM RESOURCES, THE GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE NNPC, THE MANAGING DIRECTOR OF PPMC, AND IPMAN HAVE NOT BEEN WORKING. THE SAID ACTION OF THE PANEL IS A CLEAR USURPATION OF POWERS AND A CLEAR CASE OF INSURBODINATION TO CONSTITUTED AUTHORITY, AS THE AFFORMENTIONED AGENCIES HAVE BEEN INFACT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SMOOTH SAILING AND AVAILABILITY OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS IN NIGERIA AND AS SUCH IT WILL BE COUNTER PRODUCTIVE FOR THIS SELF CENTERED PANEL TO CARRY ON SUCH AN EXERCISE.
THIS A DEVELOPMENT THAT IS CAPABLE OF BREACHING THE PEACE AND TRANQUILITY PREVALENT IN WARRI AND ITS ENVIRONS AND WE THEREFORE CALL ON THE DISTINGUISHED SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO HEARKEN TO SOUND REASONING AND USE HIS GOOD OFFICES TO PREVAIL ON THE HON. DAKUKU ADOL PETERSIDE, COMMITTEE TO SUSPEND THE SAID PANEL VISITATION PENDING WHEN THE ISSUES RELATING TO BIAS, POLITICAL UNDERTONES AND INTIMIDATION ARE ADDRESSED BY PPMC, IPMAN AND THE HALLOWED AND REVERED CHAMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.
WE BELIEVE THAT THE SAID MEDIATION PROCESS HAS HELPED TO A LARGE EXTENT BY ENSURING THAT ALL THE AGGRIEVED PARTIES CAME TO A CONSENSUS ON HOW THE ISSUES WERE TO BE RESOLVED AMICABLY. HOWEVER, THE FORMATION OF THE SAID SEVEN MAN PANEL AND ITS DUTIES HAVE WATERED DOWN THE SUPPOSED EFFECT OF THE PEACE PACT REACHED BY THE PARTIES IN A MEETING CAREFULLY MEDIATED OVER BY THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.
OWING TO THE PERCULIAR NATURE OF IPMAN BUSINESS ACTIVITIES AND THE VARIOUS SECURITY ISSUES WE HAVE BEEN MADE TO DEAL WITH IN THE PAST AS A RESULT OF DEVELOPMENTS OF THIS NATURE, WE ARE IMPLORING AND APPEALING TO THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY TO SWIFTLY SUSPEND THE SAID EXERCISE.
THE PROPOSED VISIT HAS BEEN TAGGED A WITCH HUNTING EXERCISE AND AS SUCH STAKEHOLDERS ARE BECOMING APPREHENSIVE OF THEIR INVESTMENTS AND BUSINESS CONCERNS AND AS A RESULT OF THIS DEVELOPMENT WE ARE CALLING ON THE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, THE SPEAKER OF THE FEDERAL HOUSE OF REPRESENATIVES, THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE, THE DIRECTOR GENERAL STATE SECURITY SERVICES AND OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES TO INTERVENE IN THIS MATTER FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF THE IPMAN WARRI CHAPTER, PPMC, NNPC, OUR NUMEROUS CUSTOMERS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC.
TO BE FORE WARNED THEY SAY IS TO BE FORE HARMED, LET US GIVE PEACE A CHANCE AND STOP THIS POLITICAL WITCH HUNTING.

SIGNED

COMRADE A.T, OYEBISI
FOR & ON BEHALF: CONCERNED INDEPENDENT PETROLEUM MARKETERS
CC:
THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF POLICE,
THE DG DSS

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