Ben Dunno, Warri
Residents of Warri and Effurun and other neighbouring towns in Delta State have continued to lament the high cost of fuel by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) despite federal government directive on adopting a new price regime.
A visit to some independent marketing outlets in some major towns and cities in the State revealed that the pump price of petrol remains N125 per litre, a price at variance with the N117 per litre directed by the NNPC in its new prize regime released last week to ease the economic impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on the public.
From Refinery road, Jakpa Road, Warri-Sapele Road, Okere Avenue, GRA, NPA Expressway to the suburbs of Jeddo, Ubeji, Osubi, Agharho, Ughelli, Sapele, Udu, and DSC Roundabout as well as Igbokoda and Ugbomro, residents have expressed disappointment at what they describe as extortion by IPMAN members in the State.
A top official at the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, Warri Depot, who asked to remain anonymous, said that selling petrol at N125 per litre amounts to reaping excessive profit, when marketers have already started loading at N108 since last week when the NNPC directive was issued.
He explained that even at the cost of N117 per litre, the marketers were still going to be making a good profit even after deductions of running costs at their stations, including payment of staff salaries and other expenses, stating that they are just out to inflict further hardship on the people.
Mr Stanley Onyema, a legal practitioner along Refinery Road, questioned the rationale behind selling at the old rate when the marketers are already loading at both the Warri Refinery Depot and other private depots operating in the state at N108 per litre and dispensing at N117.
According to him, “this is the height of cruelty and wickedness to fellow Nigerians by the members of Delta state IPMAN who just derive pleasure in taking undue advantage by claiming they are still selling off old stocks to rip off members of the public.”
Another resident, Mr Kola Ajibade, an educationist, condemned the leadership of Delta IPMAN for their members profiteering off the public.
“I have friends who are members of IPMAN and they have confided that most of their members had loaded from the Warri Depot and other private refineries with the new price of N108 per litre but are still selling at N125 because they are enjoying the multiple profits they are presently making with the new price regime.”
Mrs Christy Aledeh, a trader at Igbudu market, lamented the action of IPMAN leadership, saying that their attitude has shown that it is not only the government that appears to be insensitive to the plight of the people.
“Look at this now, every time we blame the government for everything but here we are, the government has directed that there should a reduction in the cost of refined products, agencies had complied… but IPMAN members are still selling at the old rate of N125 instead of N117. So where’s our conscience?” she queried.
When contacted the Secretary, Delta State IPMAN, Mr Frank Chukwudi Nwaolai, said the NNPC gave them a grace period within which they are to sell off their old stocks before commencing with the new price regime of N117 per litre.
He agreed that although their members have started loading at the new rate of N108 per litre at the Warri Refinery Depot and other private depots, many of them are still selling off their old stocks to the public.
Daily Sun investigations revealed that no filling station in the Delta towns visited, as at the time of this report, is selling at N117 per litre.