The Federal Government on Monday met with stakeholders in the petroleum and security sectors to ensure the availability of petroleum products and hitch-free celebrations for Nigerians this Christmas and New Year season.
The meeting which held at the Aso Rock Villa was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, and was attended by representatives of various security agencies, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), National President of Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers [NUPENG].
The meeting was able to secure the assurances and commitment of the stakeholders towards not only ensuring enough supply of the petroleum products during the Yuletide and beyond, but also that the security agencies help avert products diversion, while securing life and property during the period.
In his remarks, the Group Managing Director (GMD), NNPC, Mele Kyari assured Nigerians that there was enough supply of petrol for the celebration period.
“We are here today to take stock of our readiness for the festive period, particularly in terms of supplies and distribution of petroleum products across the country, so that this festive period will be enjoyed by Nigerians without any hitch, particularly the Christmas and New Year.
“We are very sure today that we have very robust supply plan not just for Christmas but beyond. We are assuring Nigerians that the NNPC has made adequate arrangement for adequate supply of petroleum products.
“If there are any issues, we have come together with other agencies of government to ensure those issues are resolved, to ensure Nigerians have a very Merry Christmas this year”, he said.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on his part said his ministry was collaborating with contractors to provide palliatives on the routes that petroleum products will be ferried through.
According to him, “the Ministry of Works and Housing has a supporting role to play here, while construction work is going on, on some of the routes used for moving cargo, we have met with our contractors and directed them to provide some palliative measures to ease the movement of trucks and tankers.
“Some of these routes include Benin-Auchi-Okene, Warri-Sapele-Benin, Ilorin-Jaba road, Calabar-Itu road and other roads. This is essentially to say we are giving everybody the support we can to ease the problem of moving fuel during the period.”
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu, on his part, said the level of security has increased to ensure the products are not deviated leading to scarcity.
He said: “December is a festive period, a period when Nigerians in diaspora will be coming to their homeland with their families, it is expected that every Nigerian is provided with adequate security of his life and property.
“For that reason, we have heightened the level of security within this period, not only the police but other security agencies are working together to ensure that the Christmas and even the new year is celebrated without any criminal incidents.
“And at the same time Nigerians will have to move about freely with the availability of petroleum. And for that reason the NNPC and the petroleum transport owners association, NUPENG and others have come together to work with us to make sure that products are moved freely to cover the whole country without any bridge.
“In that area, we have again increased the level of security, dedicated some officers to make sure that products are moved freely without any attempt to divert products from where they are suppose to go.
“We have gotten commitment also from tanker drivers that we will work seriously with their drivers to make sure that nobody incites them or motivates them to divert products from where it is suppose to go.
“So we are assuring Nigerians that the Christmas will be crime free, petroleum products will be available to everybody and it will move from one part of the country to the other.”
Representative of the Chief of Naval Staff,
Navy Chief of Training and Operations, Rear Admiral Tariworio Dick, who represented the Chief of Naval Staff, also assured that the Navy would help stall any attempt to vandalize the pipelines.
He said: “For the Navy, we have been involved in providing security in the Atlas Cove mostly pipeline. We will ensure that all hands are on deck to ensure that there are no infringement on the pipeline.
“For clearance of vessels we are in close collaboration with NNPC so that the vessels are cleared as soon as they come in to discharge. Actually we are going to prioritize, provide arms guard to move from Lagos to Port Harcourt and Calabar as we get the request from NNPC.”
The National Chairman of Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers [NUPENG], Akanni Oladiti, on his part said that “I want Nigerians to rest assured that during this coming holiday and beyond, so far as the main operator of the industry, the NNPC has assured that the products will be available and will continue to be available, we will take the products to all the four corners of Nigeria.
“There will not be scarcity or whatever. We want Nigeria to be good and we pray for the leadership of this country that God will them good health and prosperity.”