The Department of State Services (DSS) has given Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC)Limited and other stakeholders in the downstream sector 48 hours to end the lingering fuel scarcity across the country.
Addressing journalists at the DSS headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, its spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, said they held a closed door meeting with stakeholders who agreed to end the scarcity.
Afunya, said all DSS commands had been placed on red alert and would commence operations to bring defaulters to book.
According to him, the service summoned the meeting and subsequently issued the ultimatum based on its mandate of detecting and preventing threats against the internal security of the country.
“Today we held a meeting with NNPLC and other stakeholders in the down steam sector which include: the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, depot operators among others.
“We were clear and told them enough is enough on the lingering fuel scarcity. We told them they should resolve the hurdles right away. Nigerians have rights to have access to petroleum products. We told them we would not continue to tolerate the scarcity.
“You might be wondering what our business is on this issue. Don’t forget the Constitution charged us with the mandate of detecting and preventing any threat against our internal security.
“We are also empowered to investigate economic sabotage of concern to national security.
“The major takeaway from our deliberation is that there is sufficient fuel that would last us throughout the yultide and beyond in the country despite all other issues raised.
“The NNPCL said there are 1.9 billion barrels of petroleum in stock and all the stakeholders agreed to that.
“Among the resolution reached at the end of the meeting is that the marketers will be operating for 24 hours on daily basis.
“Also, tanker operators assured that all hands will be on deck to ensure the lifting of the products.
“Similarly, the NNPCL agreed to sell at ex-depot price. It also agreed to decentralise distributions to impact positively on marketers.
“On our part, we agreed to provide security for seamless distribution of the products across the country. Distribution must improve and all challenges must be eliminated in the next 48 hours after which as a matter of urgency we will carry out operations across the country not minding whose ox is gored.
“We sounded a clear note of warning to marketers and other persons involved in the process that it won’t be business as usual and that whatever needs to be done must be done.
“Our commands have been placed on red alert and they would procure information on any obstructive tendency by any organisation against the agreed terms.”
He, however, assured Nigerians that with the step taken, there won’t be acute scarcity during the yuletide season.
Afunanya also warned individuals or groups planning to indulge in criminal activities as a result of the scarcity to desist from such, adding that the service would not condone it.
Credit: The Punch