From Fred Itua, Abuja
A citizens-led anti-sabotage group, The Natives, has cautioned Depots and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) and other stakeholders in the oil sector to stop threatening the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited in its efforts ito mitigate supply chain challenges thereby imposing hardship for Nigerians.
It also asked all the stakeholders in the oil industry to start preparing for fuel subsidy removal by June 2023, saying the country cannot continue with the regime of fuel subsidy that benefits only the few.
The anti-sabotage organisation was reacting to a media report credited to the Petroleum Tanker Drivers Branch of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, (PTD-NUPENG) threatening another strike.
In the report NUPENG had accused security agents of “illegal activities and high-handedness” particularly the Military Task Force operating in the Port Harcourt zone of the Union.
But in a statement signed and released Thursday in Abuja, by the President General of The Natives, Smart Edwards, the group said instead of threatening the NNPCL and sabotaging Nigerians, DAPPMAN and other unions in the oil sector should devise another productive means of resolving impasse among stakeholders and stop causing Nigerians to panic.
The statement said: “We read with disappointment the media reports credited to NUPENG against efforts to enforce sanity by joint task force on illegal activities by marketers and we called on DAPPMAN and other unions in the oil sector to stop sabotaging the masses.
“We call on depot owners in the oil sector to stop their acts of economic sabotage capable of imposing hardship on the masses. We believe that your businesses should be done within the law. It is an act of sabotage when you purchase products at regulated prices and go on to sell at prohibitive prices to independent marketers, what then do you expect? This is profiteering at the expense of Nigerians and therefore evil.
“Nigerians are not having this conversation amnesia. In 2022 the nation witnessed a great discovery of a network of pipes shortchanging Nigeria’s crude oil pby collaborative theft, the same which led to a joint action to collapse and curb this evil venture by NNPCL and Tompolo’s company, we will therefore not take lightly any act capable of reinstalling this kinds of economic sabotage.
“The players in this sector must seek new ways of doing things with transparency and not transferring their sole goal of making profits on the masses. Lifting and storing of products are services rendered in a critical sector that affects all Nigerians, so it must not always be about threats.
“We must seek with the managers of the oil sector to begin to do things differently. Depot owners must begin to be patriotic.
“Again fuel susbidy will be removed in June this year and it is a must, therefore DAPPMAN and all other unions and associations must be ready to make sacrifices as the year progresses.”
While calling on all the Unions and associations in oil sector to be patriotic, The Natives demanded for elevation of transparency in their businesses.
“We also wish to make it abundantly clear that certainly transparency and patriotism must be elevated.
“We call on IPMAN, PTD and NUPENG to begin to look inwards, sanitize their midst and purge themselves and expel from their midst some unscrupulous members and unpatriotic players who engage in smuggling, to desist from this retrogressive acts declared on the Nation, so as to carry out their businesses without let or hindrance rather than accusing the military or security agencies of taking actions based on intelligence gathered.
This is a new year and the budget already is seeing N3.6 Trillion Naira been earmarked for fuel susbidy, when youths are earnestly yearning for jobs and better livelihood.
“Nobody will save us as a country except we ourselves. Nigeria’s resources are bleeding in the midst of blessings in natural resources, and citizens have been responsible for it, now that the country is aware, we cannot fold our hands, we all must set Eagle eyes on the players and cronies of the sector. We are tired of the blame games always let’s enthrone transparency,” it read.