Sequel to the general elections, the country had been experiencing sporadic fuel shortages, until it snowballed into a complete shutdown in the recent weeks, thereby paralysing almost all social and economic activities in the country.
Speaking, yesterday, about the sudden release of the product at the Capital Oil Depot in Apapa, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah, told journalists that the move was meant to reduce the pain Nigerians are experiencing on account of the scarcity.
Ubah described the current crisis as sabotage, saying: “We are constrained at this point and have decided that two wrongs cannot make a right. We will not be part of this sabotage against our fatherland. Therefore, from this minute, we shall take the risk of opening our facilities and commence swift loading and distribution of products nationwide.”
He also gave the assurance that once the current stock is exhausted, there are vessels laden with petroleum products at the jetty waiting to berth.
He said: “Our facility has the capacity to load over 13 million litres before dawn. This comes to approximately 400 trucks of petroleum products.”
He added that the current situation called for patriotism and service, which is why the Capital Oil truck park, port and depot reception facilities have been opened and have commenced loading of products and ordered to move overnight to every state of the federation.
He recalled that operators were informed of the shutdown of loading activities from the depots via a text message on Saturday May 16, which became effective on Monday, May 18
He noted that since then Nigerians have suffered immense hardship, with petrol now selling at an all-time high of between N500 and N1000 per litre depending on location and outlet.
Marketers and black market operators have been at their best in sharp practices, while the industry regulator, the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, is overwhelmed by it all and helpless to sanction any one for infractions.”
Against this backdrop, the Capital Oil boss argued that the way out of the current predicament is the total deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector.
Other marketers and depot operators have expressed shock at Capital Oil’s action, saying that they will have to wait to see the turn of events from today (Monday), to determine whether or not to join the bandwagon.
A source among the independent marketers told Vanguard on telephone: “For now, it may not be able to join Captal Oil because we may not be able to get the kind of security made available to him to pull this off.”
He agreed that the marketers have enough products to meet the demand, as many of the depots already had ample stock levels before the decision to shut down.
He admitted that the move by Capital Oil will be an eye opener to other marketers with regard to keeping agreements, as they are losing billions of Naira daily due to the shut down.