From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), yesterday, distance itself from the recently inaugurated IPMAN/PEF (Petroleum Equalization Fund) Committee on Gas Expansion Programme.
In a statement by the National President, Engr. Sanusi Abdul-Fari
and made available to newsmen in
Benin, he said that IPMAN representative in the committee like Alhaji Aminu Abdukadir who claimed to be Board of Trustees, (BoT) Chairman has since been sacked by Federal High Court, Port Harcourt in its judgment in AUSCO Oil Ltd and others v. Registered Trustees of IPMAN (FHC/PH/CS/12/2014).
Abdul-Fari stressed that the 2009 constitution of IPMAN on whose back he Abdukadir rode to the position of chairman, BoT has been thrown away by both the Federal High Court Port Harcourt and the Supreme Court in Suit No.SC.15/201– Chief Obasi Lawson v Chinedu Okoronkwo in their judgments.
“The only Board of Trustee Chairman known in law and infact to IPMAN at present is Chief Obasi Lawson. IPMAN has not gone into any alliance with PEF or any other government agency on gas expansion program other than CBN and selected financial institutions. IPMAN is not looking up to PEF for funding the Gas Expansion Project or any other project for that matter.
“PEF does not have the capacity to fund such project because the act establishing it does not empower the agency to do so. The money paid by marketers to PEF is to enable it equalize transportation expenses incurred in making available petrol at petrol stations in Nigeria at uniform price”, he said.
Abdul-Fari further alleged that the initiative is a ploy by PEF to cover up the N46 billion deductions from marketers’ claim, warning that the association will not hesitate to invite antigraft agencies into the matter for investigation.
He added that IPMAN will not in any way support any move that will prolong the existence of PEF beyond the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
He however reiterated the support of IPMAN for the Gas Expansion initiative of the federal government, noting that marketers have already keyed into the program through the expansion of their retail outlets to include sale of auto and cooking gas.
Abdul-Fari disclosed that funding and financing are presently being arranged by the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other selected financial institutions.
While Abdukadir refused to answer several calls put to his mobile phone and reply to a text message, Dr. Goddy Nnadi, PEF’s General Manager Corporate Services explained that the law establishing the agency authorized it to deal with marketers of petroleum products.
He insisted that the choice of members of the committee was proper and it is aimed at the expansion of gas penetration as enunciated by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipiriye Silva.
“The board is working with the ministry and other stakeholders, including marketers in achieving the set objectives of the National Gas Expansion Project. Any marketer or corporate organization interested in engaging the board is welcome.
“We are not interested in inter or intra organizational issues, but determined to deploy the capacities available to us to help government add value to the lives of Nigerians by helping make products available, provide clean energy, create jobs and reduce poverty”, he added.