It’s not time to issue queries over dirty fuel, says FG | Newspot

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• Northern group demands NNPC boss’ resignation
Ahead of the reported grilling of importers of dirty premium motor spirit (petrol) by the National Assembly tomorrow, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, yesterday, insisted it isn’t time to query anyone over the development.

While apologising for hardship caused by the scarcity, he admitted that inspection failure – a regulatory laxity – was responsible for the challenge across the country.

He said it is time, rather, for all hands to be on deck to address the situation.

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) had said importers of the adulterated fuel, which included Duke Oil, owned by the government, would appear at the House tomorrow to face interrogations.

The committee, last week, had grilled Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari.

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While the scarcity lingers, with signs of a little ease, yesterday, Sylva said the development is regrettable, noting that the Federal Government sympathises with the citizenry over the hardship.

In a statement signed by his spokesman, Horatius Egua, in Abuja, Sylva appealed to Nigerians to be patient with government as it tries to find a lasting solution to the crisis.

The minister said: “This is a time that calls for collective action to save a situation that was not foreseen. It is not a time to trade blames as is customary in Nigeria. It is, therefore, not a time to query anyone but a time to come together to salvage the plight of the average Nigerian.

“After the storm settles, there will be time enough to investigate and get to the bottom, so that this does not repeat itself.”

According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari’s charge to all parties and agencies concerned is to work together to ensure normalcy returns quickly. He said Nigerians deserve the best and the government is determined to set the country on the right path of petroleum products availability and sustainability, as demonstrated in award of contracts for rehabilitation of refineries and acquisition of stake in Dangote refinery.

Although queues across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) reduced, yesterday, most filling stations were still without products. Some of the stations that opened for business in the early hours ran out stock by mid-day.

MEANWHILE, a group, Coalition of Concerned Northern Forum, has given Kyari and the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Farouk Ahmed, a 72-hour ultimatum to resign.

It also called on the corporation’s management to fish out persons responsible for supply of the adulterated fuel.

It said if its demands are not met, “we shall occupy all NNPC zonal offices and its subsidiaries across our region and the FCT.”

A statement jointly signed by the chairman, Mallam Ibrahim Bature, and the spokesperson, Comrade Abdulsalam Moh’d Kazeem, yesterday, reads in part: “We demand that all the management staff of NNPC should be sacked without any compensation. NNPC management should make public the names of those involved in this national scandal and embarrassment. This is not just a mere threat. We will follow up with full action after the expiration of our ultimatum.”

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