Members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) took to the streets of Lagos in a peaceful protest on Thursday. The demonstration was prompted by the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited’s (NNPCL) decision to exclude IPMAN members from the distribution of petroleum products. During the rally held at their Apapa office, IPMAN called on President Bola Tinubu to intervene and help salvage their businesses.
Folalu Ebenezer, the Secretary of IPMAN/NNPC PDO Forum, addressed the press during the protest, expressing the association’s support for the removal of fuel subsidy. However, he urged President Tinubu to shed light on the various injustices committed by NNPCL personnel. According to Ebenezer, despite making payments months in advance, IPMAN members have yet to receive the product supplies they paid for.
He highlighted the discrepancy between the payments made and the lack of product availability, emphasizing that some members have been waiting for up to nine months. Additionally, he revealed that IPMAN members faced an unexpected increment in January 2023, where they were required to pay an additional sum of One million and seventy-two thousand naira per ticket. Despite meeting this obligation, their product supplies remain undelivered. As of now, over 4,500 tickets, including 500 Dynamic tickets, are pending on NNPCL’s portal.
In a surprising turn of events, following the announcement of the fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government, NNPCL is now demanding IPMAN members with existing tickets to pay an additional N13,702,000 for each ticket. This development has further exacerbated the frustration and financial burden faced by IPMAN members.
Responding to the allegations, Alhaji Jallo Mohammed, the NNPCL Coordinator Private Depots Operation in Lagos, stated that the bulk purchase agreement includes provisions and conditions indicating that product availability is not guaranteed upon payment. He emphasized that the organization cannot be held accountable for such situations, as the agreement clearly outlines the terms. For further clarification, he directed inquiries to the corporate affairs commission.
The peaceful protest by IPMAN members in Lagos highlights their urgent plea for President Tinubu’s intervention. They seek justice and fairness in the distribution of petroleum products and demand resolution to the discrepancies and delays they have experienced. The fate of their businesses hangs in the balance, and their hopes are pinned on the support and intervention of the government.