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Prominent civil rights advocacy group- Human Rignts Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has demanded from President Muhammadu Buhari on when he intends to bring to justice the corporate bodies and individuals who imported toxic fuel in early February that precipitated a near two months-long fuel scarcity all over Nigeria.
HURIWA recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had on February 10th 2022 said suppliers of the methanol-blended petroleum products in the country were liable for the bad fuel and should be held accountable. Buhari directed relevant government agencies to take every lawful step to ensure the respect and protection of consumers against market abuse and social injustice.
HURIWA further recalled that the president was reacting to the saga of the adulterated petrol imported into the country, which was said to have damaged some vehicles. The withdrawal of the fuel is behind the recent petrol scarcity that has caused long fuel queues in some towns and cities across Nigeria.
HURIWA recalled that in a statement by his spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari said the protection of consumer interests was the priority of his administration. He said his government was ready to take necessary measures to protect consumers from hazardous products, loss or injuries from the consumption of substandard goods.The president directed that in line with the law, service providers must make full disclosure of relevant information with respect to the consumption of their products. He said dissatisfied consumers were entitled to proper redress of their complaints.
The Rights group recalled that following the disclosure by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) that its investigation revealed the presence of methanol in four petrol cargoes imported by MRS, Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium, Oando and Duke Oil, the President appeared to be very serious about ending the regime of impunity in the upstream sub-sector of the petroleum industry in Nigeria, but more than three months down the line, it would seem the Federal Government and all the relevant agencies that ought to prosecute the indicted companies have colluded with whomsoever that they ought to prosecute and have swept the issue under the carpet because there is widespread impunity in the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
HURIWA recalled that the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) also said NNPC, as the sole importer of fuel in the country, should be responsible for payment of damages to affected Nigerians.
HURIWA said: ” We were impressed by the categorical affirmations made by President Muhammadu Buhari through his authorised spokesman that his government will deal decisively with those who brought in the toxic fuel that led to the collapse of the engines of a lot of vehicles that bought the fuel just as the health and environmental consequences from these toxic fuel to Nigeria and Nigerians are yet to be quantified or ascertain. But sadly, that line of threat by President Muhammadu Buhari has entered voicemail and gone politically cold and the importers of the bad fuel are still in business. This confirms that lawlessness and impunity are the hallmarks of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. This is tragic”.