The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has blamed the thriving of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta on non-supply of petroleum products by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The Rivers chapter chairman of the association, Emmanuel Inimgba, who spoke when he led members on protest yesterday to the Port Harcourt refinery over paucity of products, noted that the action was also to draw the attention of the oil agency to the hike in prices of diesel and kerosene in the state.
He argued that the non-availability of the petroleum products had availed operators of the illegal facilities to flood the market with their products.
Inimgba regretted that his members with tickets were yet to be allocated stocks seven months father.
The IPMAN chief said: “Can you imagine marketers with tickets have not seen products for the past seven months? Yet, PPMC (Pipelines and Product Marketing Company) has increased the prices of petroleum products, especially AGO (Automobile Gasoline) for over five times and DPK (Dual Purpose Kerosene) three times. Former NNPC prices for AGO and DPK are N220 N213.10k per litre.”
Disclosing that the refinery management had promised to make the products available soon, Inimgba, however, threatened that the oil marketers alongside tanker drivers would shut down the facility if the assurance was not fulfilled in a week to alleviate the suffering Nigerians who depend largely on the products for survival.
The Port Harcourt refinery has been out of operation in the last two months due to a major equipment failure.
The installation has been witnessed a fair share of breakdowns traceable to lack of comprehensive turn around maintenance.
It was gathered that the last time it witnessed an extensive maintenance was 18 years ago whereas the exercise out to be carried out every two year.
No thanks to the bureaucracy that has been impeding the health of the largest refinery in the country, according to officials.