17th September, 2021
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has directed its members to withdraw their services from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) loading depot in Enugu.
The National President of IPMAN, Alhaji Sanusi Fari disclosed this in a statement on Thursday, in Enugu.
He said the directive was in response to an alleged attack and invasion of the IPMAN secretariat in the Enugu depot, on Thursday, by men of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
The president said that the invasion and attack were carried out with impunity and against a subsisting court order.
“Sequel to this ugly development, the National Executive Committee of IPMAN has resolved and directed the withdrawal of our services at Enugu loading depot with immediate effect.
“This will stop our services to members of the public in Enugu, Anambra, and Ebonyi from Sept. 17 until the police illegality is reversed,” Fari said.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Enugu Command, ASP Daniel Ndukwe, denied that operatives of the command blockaded or attacked the IPMAN secretariat in Enugu.
Rather, Ndukwe said that detectives from the Force Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Abuja, were on an investigation trip to the IPMAN office to serve the association’s members’ invitation over a court matter.
The South-East had been grappling with an acute shortage of petroleum products, following a strike by petroleum tanker drivers in the area.
The situation had increased the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in the area as a liter currently sells between N250 and N300 in most petrol stations.
The crisis is centred on the leadership of IPMAN.
Alhaji Sanusi Fari and Chinedu Okoronkwo are both laying claims to the office of the President of the association.
Okoronkwo said the leadership issue of IPMAN has been settled by a Supreme Court judgement delivered in Abuja on Dec. 14, 2018.
He said Justice Musa Muhammad in suit No. SC15/2015 recognised himself and Alhaji Danladi Pasali as President and Secretary of IPMAN respectively.
He noted that the police recently invited the Fari-led IPMAN to find a lasting solution to the leadership tussle.
Okoronkwo said the invitation to the other faction was directed by the Inspector General of Police, Mr Usman Baba.
He, however, enjoined IPMAN members to go about their respective businesses without any fear of intimidation.
He said the association would continue to support the efforts of the Federal Government to ensure smooth supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country.