By Adewale Sanyaolu
The current fuel scarcity being experienced in parts of the country may get messier in the coming weeks as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria(IPMAN) has described as false the claims by the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) that it paid about N74 billion in bridging claims to oil marketers.
NMDPRA had in a statement released last Wednesday by its General Manager, Corporate Communications, Kimchi Apollo, announced the payment of about N74 billion to oil marketers as bridging claims for past seven months.
“So far, the Authority paid N71,233,712,991 bridging claims and another N2,736,179,950.84 freight differentials to oil marketers as of June 6, 2022,” Apollo said.
He said the Authority’s attention was drawn to allegations made by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association Nigeria (IPMAN), Suleja Branch) on product scarcity as a result of non-payment of bridging claims.
Apollo said the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) received N9.96 billion while IPMAN members were paid N42.30 billion.
He said NNPC Retails received N6.66 billion, while DAPPMAN members were paid N12.30 billion, which translated to a total of N73.97 billion.
He noted that the Chief Executive, NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed, at a meeting on May 17 with IPMAN discussed bridging payment extensively during which the processes were explained and agreed upon.
But, reacting to NMDPRA N74 billion bridging claims payment, Secretary, Abuja-Suleja IPMAN, Mohammed Shuaibu, further disputed NMDPRA claims and challenged its Chief Executive Officer(CEO), Farouk Ahmed, to reveal the names of the marketers the government paid the N74 billion as well as show documents to prove the claim.
Similarly, Shuaibu, National President of IPMAN, Mr. Debo Ahmed, in a telephone interview with Daily Sun yesterday equally faulted the N74 billion payment claims by NMDPRA.
According to him, the claim is bogus, saying NMDPRA may have made some payment but the N74 billion claim is contestable. He said the inability of the agency to settle outstanding bridging claims no doubt has contributed to the lingering fuel scarcity.