The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, has disclosed its intention to shut down distribution channels for petroleum and related products in South-South and South-Eastern Nigeria.
The Chairman of the Cross River Association, Mr. Robert Obi gave the hint during a meeting with journalists in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, south-south Nigeria.
Obi said oil distribution channels in Calabar and Port Harcourt, Rivers State, as well as distribution channels in Enugu State would be affected due to alleged harassment of its members by police officers.
According to him, “The decision to close all petrol stations and depots was taken after we held a series of meetings with some stakeholders over the decision by Nigeria Forensic Police Headquarters to arrest our cadres across the country. area and impose faction leadership.”
The IPMAN chapter president further explained that the eastern zone of the association, which has approximately 2,000 members, who own over 40 combined depots and over 1,000 gas stations in Abia, Benue, Cross River, Enugu and Rivers States was ready for any further perceived harassment to shut down operations.
Speaking further, Obi said the association has decided to warn Nigerians and other residents in its operational areas of the impending action, which could inflict some level of hardship if enforced.
“Since the Supreme Court decision in 2018 and its interpretations at the Federal High Court in Calabar in 2019, IPMAN has had this ongoing battle with the police due to constant interference and harassment from our leaders.
“The recent development in this case where the judicial police headquarters would send its own letter of interpretation to the inspector general of police on a case which has been put to rest is an invitation to anarchy.
“We have also been reliably informed that the police are pulling out all the stops to arrest the current leaders of IPMAN in Nigeria, particularly at the Calabar NNPC depot. If this happens, we will also take action to protest this undue harassment and interference in our business.
“The concern is that people will suffer. Already, Nigerians cross a lot of countries, but we will not be silent under the constant harassment and interference of the police in our case. However, IPMAN management will abide by existing laws and rulings,” he underlined.
A few months ago, gas stations in Calabar were closed for a few days, a situation that is causing hardship for commuters and motorists as well as small and micro businesses that rely on AGO, PMS and DPK on a daily basis.