The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has warned on crippling the supply of petrol due to the non-payment of over N200 billion bridging claims.

Recall that parts of the country is experiencing scarcity of petrol, which has led to an increase in transport costs.

In a press conference on Tuesday, which gave way for a communique released by Oliver Okolo, the association’s unit chairman and spokesperson, Aba Depot, said the debt is being owed by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NMDPRA).

Okolo said NMDPRA failed to pay the N200 billion debt, accruing since September 2022 — despite a directive for payment from Heineken Lokpobiri, the minister of petroleum resources (oil).

“We are poised to take far-reaching decisions that may cripple the supply and sales of petroleum products across Nigeria, if our demands are not met within the shortest period,” he said.

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He said the NMDPRA’s delay in offsetting the debt has led to the “deaths of many of our members and the unfortunate collapse of their businesses”.

“As businessmen and women, our members acquired bank loans to keep their fuel retail outlets running daily across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, to serve the teeming population of Nigerians,” he said.

“However, it is demoralising to know that many of our members have gone bankrupt and have become financially insolvent as a result of their inability to meet their financial obligations to their banks, arising wholly from their inability to get their monies from the NMDPRA.

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“Consequently, also, the banks have taken over the business premises of many of our members.

“As indigenous organisations, and Depot Chairmen, we are unhappy that rather than receive support from the government to boost our businesses, we are being discouraged, by the head of NMDPRA.

“It is noteworthy to recall and state here that at a stakeholders meeting held on the 20th of February, 2024 with Mr. Heineken Lokpobiri, the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources (Oil), and the NSA Nuhu Ribadu, Engr. Farouk Ahmed, the Chief Authority of NMDPRA, was mandated by Mr. Heinehken Lokpobiri to clear the entire debt in 40 days.”

However, after the 40-day deadline, Okolo said a paltry sum of N13 billion has been paid.

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