The National Association of Road Transport Owners on Wednesday charged its members involved in the haulage of petroleum products to refrain from diverting the commodities in order to effectively address the crisis in Nigeria’s downstream oil sector.
It said fuel transporters must shun activities that could sabotage the Federal Government’s efforts to surmount the challenge crippling the effective movement of goods and services across the country.
NARTO President, Yusuf Othman, who gave the charge in Abuja, also absolved the retail arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited of the blame for the current scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol.
He said, “Let me use this opportunity to call on our law-abiding and patriotic members who are into the transportation of petroleum products to please desist from illegal bunkering, smuggling and diversion of petroleum products.
“This is because these actions are detrimental to the economy of our great nation. This association will not support, defend, or sympathise with anyone caught committing these crimes.”
On allegations that NNPCL retail stations were culpable as regards the crisis in the downstream oil sector, Othman stated that “it is false.”
He added, “As far as we are concerned, the NNPCL retailers are the largest retail outlet in the country. As of today, they are the only marketing company that sells fuel at the same price everywhere in Nigeria.
“The same price in Lagos, same price in Abuja. So you will see some envy by other marketers and from experience, personally my own company has been working with NNPC retail in the last 15 years. I know their pedigree and their capacity.”
The NARTO president commended the Federal Government for setting up a 14-man panel on petroleum products supply and distribution management, to be chaired by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).