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Fuel scarcity: Senate to conduct nationwide filling stations inspection, summons NNPC GMD

Dr. Bukola Saraki, Senate President

By Cecilia Ijuo

The Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream says plans have been concluded for it to conduct nationwide inspection of filling stations over recent fears of fuel scarcity in the country.
Chairman of the committee, Sen. Kabiru Marafa, stated this in a news briefing shortly after an investigative hearing on the matter on Tuesday in Abuja.
Marafa said the senate would not watch some unpatriotic persons put Nigerians through any form of hardship, particularly during the yuletide.
He noted that though the senate had adjourned to commence budget defence, members of the committee would take time out to embark on the oversight.
According to him, members of the committee will be regrouped into subcommittees to make it possible to visit all the states.
“First things first; the welfare of Nigerians especially in this season is that a lot of them will be travelling to reunite with their love ones is paramount.
“We will take time out to embark on a serious oversight. We will break into sub-committees to be able to cover the entire country.
“We have already mandated the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to furnish us with the daily distribution.
“This is to enable the sub-committees to be armed with detailed evidence of which filling station was given what quantity of fuel.
“We will also get these details from the filling stations to ascertain when last they got supplies and the quantity sold.
“We will not stop at that. We will also inspect tanks in filling stations to ensure that Nigerians are not taken advantage of,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the committee has summoned the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru, to appear before it on Thursday, having failed to appear on Tuesday.
“Immediately the issue came up, we contacted NNPC to know the situation of things and we were told that the rumours were unfounded and that they have written rejoinders to that effect.
“However, given the seriousness of the matter, we decided to invite the GMD to come and brief on the development and to enable Nigerians know the situation of things.
“Unfortunately he wrote informing us of his inability to honour the invitation.
“We hope he will be back by Thursday to tell Nigerians the true situation. Even if he cannot make it he can send people that are in good authority to speak on his behalf.
“There is an Executive Director in charge of Downstream who oversees the downstream generally. There is also the Managing Director of Petroleum and Product Marketing Company.
“So, whatever it is by next tomorrow we will be able to tell Nigerians what the situation is like and what the Senate is going to do in the event of any eventuality,’’ he said.
He warned filling stations in the habit of hoarding fuel to inflict untold pains on Nigerians to desist as it would not be business as usual.
He assured that the senate would work with relevant agencies of government to punish any filling station found wanting.

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