The Senate has asked the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to end the lingering scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) within seven days.
This was part of the resolutions made by the upper chamber of the National Assembly at the plenary on Thursday.
The resolution followed the adoption of a report by the Senate and House of Representatives’ Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources following a closed-door meeting between the committee and the NNPC leadership on Wednesday.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), Senator Kabiru Marafa, who briefed senators on the outcome of the meeting, said, “We met them yesterday (Wednesday) and we engaged them on three key issues. One, to brief the committee, and by extension the Senate, on why the queues are back. Two, to tell us the challenges. And three, to tell us what needs to be done to clear the queues in the country.
“On the reasons the queues are back, they told us that it was a combination of the supply gap, coupled with massive smuggling across our borders, which is quite alarming. Even day before yesterday, I saw on national television where Customs officials intercepted more than 3,000 jerry cans of fuel in addition to the quantities being smuggled across the borders.”
He added, “On their challenges, they still talked about this problem of smuggling and failure by marketers to sell at the approved pump price (N145). They told us that every litre of fuel in the country today is brought in by the NNPC and that the corporation still sells at the controlled price till today; therefore, anybody selling above the pump price is doing so at his own risk.
“They also told us that cooperation was required from the security agencies.”
As recommended by the committee, the lawmakers resolved to “direct the NNPC to ensure the adequate supply of PMS and disappearance of queues nationwide within seven days.”
Others resolutions were to “direct all security agencies to ensure effective border control measures to avoid the smuggling of petroleum products; and direct the Department of Petroleum Resources to double their efforts in enforcing price control and monitoring.”
Later on his social media accounts, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, wrote, “Today, we gave the NNPC a seven-day deadline to ensure that the current #FuelScarcity queues that exist across the nation must disappear. Within this timeframe, they must make sure of this.
“I have also directed the Nigerian Senate’s Committee on Downstream Petroleum to report back to plenary next week to confirm that the NNPC has complied with the directives of the Senate resolutions on the #FuelScarcity.”