Hope for finding solution to the lingering fuel crisis in the country was rekindled yesterday as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Rilwanu
Lukman, issued a stern order to the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to end the ragging fuel supply and distribution challenges within seven days or face sack.
Group General Manager in charge of Group Public Affairs Division of NNPC, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma, said in a statement yesterday that Lukman told both the NNPC management and the members of the Ã¢â‚¬ËœNNPC War RoomÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ which was created with a mandate to end the fuel crisis within the next seven days, to Ã¢â‚¬Å“come up with a viable plan of action to end the fuel queues permanentlyÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Lukman said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Yes, there may exist some external factors which are hindering your success in this regard but that is the challenge for you because you are the national oil company. There is no more room for excuses because we have been engaged by the government and the Nigerian people to do this job despite the odds. And we must deliver.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Petroleum Minister, who was visibly angry over the national embarrassment the three-month-old fuel scarcity has caused the country, warned that there would be no hiding place if NNPC fails to deliver.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“People are given a job because of their ability to deliver and if you cannot do it we are going to get people who can do it. This fuel matter is not only a social and economic nuisance but has some negative implication for the national security,Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ he said.
Apparently moved by the ministerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s warning, the Ã¢â‚¬ËœNNPC War RoomÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ has reeled out a broad-based action plan designed to flood some Nigerian cities particularly Abuja and Lagos with petroleum products.
Ajuonuma stated that under this arrangement, products would be deployed from the national strategic stocks in Kano, Suleja and Minna for onward bridging to the Federal Capital in a massive trail of truck movement which would see Abuja receive extra 110 trucks daily for the next three days.
To concretise the arrangement, he said NNPC Retail Limited, had secured the commitment of over 350 truck owners in the Kano-Kaduna axis for the exercise.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Similarly the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the NNPC, has equally secured similar commitment from depot owners and tanker drivers in Lagos to facilitate the accelerated evacuation of marine stocks to ease distribution challenges,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
He further stated that the Independent Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) had pledged its full support towards assisting the NNPC in tackling the fuel supply challenge.
President of the association, Alhaji Aminu Abdukadir, told the War RoomÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ members that IPMAN would do everything within its powers to ensure that the fuel situation is reversed for good.
The fuel crisis was caused by the refusal of the major marketers and other independent importers to import fuel in protest against delays in payment of their subsidy claims by the Federal Government.
Efforts by NNPC, which had accounted for 47 per cent of imported fuel to fill the gap created by the action of the marketers by way of massive importation, have been unsuccessful.
Worried by the situation, the NNPC last Wednesday created what it called an Ã¢â‚¬ËœNNPC War RoomÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ with an express mandate by the Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, to members of the group to end fuel queues within the next seven days.
Mandated to keep tab on vessel arrival, vessel discharge, daily loadings and the status of the products at NNPC Retail Stations throughout the country, the NNPC War Room will come under the direct supervision of the Group Executive Director, Commercial and Investment, Alhaji Aminu Baba-Kusa.
The war room will also evaluate current supply and distribution challenges on a daily basis.