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Commuters groan as fuel queues resurface in Lagos, marketers blame depots

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Motorists in Lagos spent hours at filling stations while waiting to buy the product as long queues surfaced on Tuesday.

The situation was worse in the Ikosi-Ketu, Arepo area of New Lagos, Obalende, Maryland and Iju-shaga in Lagos State.

Commuters lamented the hike in prices of transportation fares in the state on Monday and Tuesday, as petrol was sold between N195 and N200 per litre.

Queues were also reported along the Alausa Secretariat road, as the NNPC (former Oando) was closed to motorists. The same situation was also noticed at Total filling stations in Ojota and Palm Grove.

Stations such as Mobil and Fatgbems along Berger also had long queues and sold at N200/litre.

Long queues were also reported at Lekki.

Heyden filling station at Ilupeju, though sold fuel, had a long queue of vehicles waiting to buy the product.

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria blamed it on the depots and the increasing difficulty in accessing petroleum products.

National Controller, Operations, IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi, told The PUNCH in an interview that members of the association could not get sufficient products at the depots.

“No fuel. Even when we were able to get small quantity, DAPPMAN sold it to us at N200/N202 per litre. By the time we transport it to our stations, the cost would be around N210/litre,” he said.

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He added that getting petrol to members’ filling stations from the depots now cost as much as N200 per litre in some instances.

DAPPMAN’s Chairman, Dame Williams Akpani, had, during a chat, told The PUNCH that the fuel crises persisted due to logistics challenges.

She said bad roads, resulting in petrol trucks taking one week instead of three days to arrive in Abuja from Lagos, was also responsible.

Akpani added that the bad Abuja road network had led to breakdown of petroleum trucks, which according to her, had resulted in apathy on the part of the drivers in taking products to the federal capital.

Spokesperson for state oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited, Garba Deen Mohammed, could not be reached for comment as his phone was switched off as of press time. Messages sent to his phone were not also delivered.

Meanwhile, oil marketers are lamenting what they call the imposition of a 0.5 per cent tax on the gross turnover of the petroleum by the Finance Act.

The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association’s Executive Secretary, Olufemi Adewole, on the sideline of the maiden edition of the Platforms Africa Continental Forum held on Monday in Lagos, said the tax could shut down businesses and also fuel scarcity crisis if the Federal Government went ahead to implement the new tax regime.

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Adewole explained that petroleum marketing firms’ trading margins were too small, and that they would not afford to pay such an amount sustainably.

Adewole said, “Petroleum marketers operate a very low margin, but the turnover is very huge. Unfortunately, the margin does not correspond with the turnover.”

He disclosed that the margins marketers were getting when a litre of fuel sold for N40 was the same they were still getting when it rose to N160 and N200.

According to him, “The Finance Act 2020 says the marketers have to pay 0.5 per cent from their gross turnover by the end of this year.

“It is unimaginable that probably, half of the petroleum marketing firms existing now may go under if the new tax regime is implemented, except the regulator, which is the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, approves a new margin for the marketers,” he said.

It would be recalled that oil marketers had recently lamented scarcity of foreign exchange, which, according to them, threatened the importation and distribution of petroleum products across the country.

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The fuel queues were coming on the heels of a letter dated October 28, 2022, by the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers to the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, over harassment, intimidation and extortion of petroleum tanker drivers by some community youths under the name, Indigenous Unity Forum.

Part of the letter read, “We are deeply constrained to bring to your urgent attention, the unwholesome activities of some criminal elements parading themselves along Lekki Free Trade Zone Road, Eleko Ibeju, Lekki, as community youths under the name of Indigenous Unity Forum, harassing, intimidating, and extorting money from every petroleum truck drivers, who are NUPENG/PTD members plying the road.

“We have no other obligation than to demand that your Excellency, as a matter of urgency, put a final stop to the unwholesome activities of these criminals and similar elements across the state. Otherwise, we would have no other option than to direct our members, for the sake of the safety of their lives and property, to stay off the entire Lagos State until sanity, law and order are restored.”

 

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Former President Jonathan accepts ambassadorial role

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has been accepted as Africa’s Agricultural Technology Ambassador by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).

Making the announcement after meeting with the former President in Yenagoa, Bayelsa South-south during the week, the AATF Executive Director, Dr Canisius Kanangire, said the appointment was informed by the former President’s track record of championing agricultural transformation on the continent.

AATF, in a statement by its Communications Officer, Alex Abutu, described Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as a Nigerian politician who served as the President of Nigeria from 2010 to 2015 and had since been at the forefront of agricultural improvement on the continent.

In his acceptance speech, Dr Jonathan said that as a former Head of State, his interest in serving the continent is driven by the interest he has in driving food security and transformation for a better quality of life in Africa.

Kanangire said: “Dr Jonathan’s commitment to uplift agriculture on the continent was exemplified by the Agricultural Transformation Agenda he pursued and diligently implemented in Nigeria during his tenure as President.

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“The agenda targeted increasing efficiency and profitability in about 12 selected key agricultural commodities, which include: cotton, cocoa, cassava, oil palm, maize, soya bean, onion, rice, livestock, fisheries, tomato and sorghum.

“Under the agenda, about 3.5 million new jobs were created based on the selected key products, while many more jobs were created from other value chain activities, with over N300 billion of additional income in the hands of Nigerian farmers and rural entrepreneurs. In addition, over N60 billion (US$380 million) was injected into the economy from the substitution of 20% of bread wheat flour with cassava flour.

“Another critical element of Dr Goodluck’s agricultural legacy as President of Nigeria was his ability to cut down on the importation of food that can be produced locally, thereby, saving the nation well over N1.3 trillion per annum on the importation of foodstuff.

“Dr Jonathan was able to demonstrate in Nigeria that agriculture should be treated as a business and supported by relevant policies for the improvement of the livelihoods of our growing farming population.”

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AATF’s boss further said that Dr Jonathan is a Pan-Africanist who had stood for the eradication of rural poverty and the peaceful coexistence of the continent, hence his involvement in peaceful conflict resolution on the continent.

“As AATF’s Ambassador, Dr Jonathan will advocate for the advancement of Africa’s agricultural goals and economic growth through the application of innovative technologies and enhanced investment in agriculture. AATF is honoured to have the former president as our Ambassador, whose role will accelerate ongoing efforts to improve our agricultural terrain.”

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Wike, Ortom challenge Buhari to expose governors stealing LG funds

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Nyesom Wike and Samuel Ortom, governors of Rivers and Benue states, have challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to expose Nigerian governors responsible for stealing local government funds.

The governors, who are part of the five Integrity Governors among the governors of the Peoples Democratic Party, threw the challenge to the President on Friday during the inauguration of the Mgbuosimini Internal Roads in Rivers State.

President Buhari had earlier in a speech at the presidential parley for members of the Senior Executive Course 44 (2022) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) at the State House, said that state governors steal allocations meant for local governments.

But reacting to the allegation, Governor Wike denied ever taking funds meant for the local government since he assumed office as governor in 2015. He challenged the president to name governors that are doing that as his statement could be termed class defamation.

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“I want to challenge Mr. President, Mr. President you are a leader and we believe as leaders you must come out and tell Nigerians, who are those committing this offence? You said the governors are taking local government funds, I want to say in the name of Almighty God I have never touched local government funds one day, I have never and I have no reason to do that.

“So Mr. President who are those people? You know them, tell us. It is not good to say what you call class defamation, you say, governors, please I am not one of those governors, so Mr. President please spare me, tell Nigerians that the Integrity governors are not part of them, we have integrity, we are not part of them,” Wike said.

He added that as local government Chairman under Governor Peter Odili, his funds were never touched by the governor and therefore he has no reason to tamper with any money meant for local governments as governor.

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Corroborating his colleague’s remark, Governor Ortom also denied touching funds meant for local government, saying that their funds go to them directly from the federation account.

Ortom said, “It is a logical fallacy to say that all governors are criminals; all governors are stealing from local government. I join governor Wike to say from 2015, let EFCC come, let ICPC come, let every other agency that can unearth this, as far as Benue State is concerned let them bring it out so that we know the people, there is no point generalising that all of us are evil people.

“I don’t do it, I didn’t like it when the Federal Government enacted something and said local government should have financial autonomy, but from that day all monies are paid to the local government, and no single naira has been paid through anyone, all monies that come from the federation account go straight to the individual councils.”

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Despite allure of office, I won’t take over from my father – Akeredolu’s son

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Babajide Akeredolu, son of Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, on Friday, dispelled rumours that he plans to take over from his father, Rotimi Akeredolu, after the expiration of the latter’s tenure.

He said despite the allure of office, he had several sectors where he could venture into and become extremely successful than being in government.

Babajide, who is currently a Special Adviser and Director-General, Performance and Project Implementation Unit, Office of the Governor of Ondo State, revealed this at a press conference in Lagos State.

He said, “I don’t have any plan to run for office. It is interesting people speculate this, but I have multiple pathways to success. I don’t need to stay in government to be successful.

“Power is never something that gingers the Akeredolu family. I’m not looking for that (governor’s seat), but I’m just looking for opportunities to make young people thrive.

“I have never thought of being a governor. That thing is stressful and I don’t want to go through it. People that are build for that, I wish them well.”

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He added, “There are multiple cards to success for me. I am lucky I have a strong surname with a lot of options before me. So, I really don’t bother about what’s coming next, but I just focus on the present and how I can help the younger generations.”

 

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