…ousted PA opens up; exposes rots, extortion, sabotage

By Ime Silas

As at the time of filing this report, premium motor spirit (PMS) popularly called petrol is being sold at between N850 to N900 per litre at some fueling stations within Akwa Ibom State. The black marketers have also seized the opportunity to make brisk business, selling the product at between N1000 and N1200, depending on location and time of the day.

Our paper gathered that while petroleum marketers in the State continue to take advantage of government’s somewhat indifference and toothlessness to rip off the already suffering masses, the commodity is still being sold at neighboring states within the federal government’s approved pump price.

In Port Harcourt, Rivers State state for instance, a litre of petrol costs N591 at NNPCL Mega fueling stations while major/independent marketers such as BOVAS fueling station sell at between N670 and N680.

In Calabar, Cross River State, the product is sold at between N591 and N675, depending on the fueling stations, sparking questions as to why the oil-rich Akwa Ibom State is different.

In Uyo, most fueling stations have remained shut in what pundits described as moves to further worsen the artificial scarcity. A greater number of the fuel stations are understood to have the product stored up for purpose of hoarding with a view to selling at exorbitant rates.

Not even the NNPCL-operated Mega fueling stations have been of help to motorists and residents of the state. Our correspondents who monitored the NNPCL Mega stations located on Itam junction, Ikot Ekpene Road and Oron Road reported that they have been under lock and key in the last couple of days.

It was however gathered that while the Itam junction NNPCL Mega station opened today, Saturday, 4th May, only four out of 16 (sixteen) pumps were dispensing petrol to over a hundred vehicles queuing up for hours to get the product which they were selling at N595/litre.

It would be recalled that penultimate week the Akwa Ibom State governor, His Excellency, Pastor Umo Eno had slammed his hammer on Sam Osung who, until his sack, was one of the over fifty Media Aides to the governor.

Osung was also the Chairman of Natural Oil And Gas Suppliers Association Of Nigeria, NOGASA, a position which qualified him to be addressed as one of the stakeholders in the marketing architecture of the petroleum sub-sector in Akwa Ibom State.

While sacking Osung, the governor was quoted to have said “you can’t be in Government as a unionist. You must leave Government and concentrate on your petroleum politics”

Osung’s ouster which took everyone by surprise as he was the first Aide to be so removed, was not unconnected with his alleged role in instigating the lingering fuel scarcity in the state.

But in an attempt to clear himself of any wrongdoing, Sam Osung in a release titled ‘Akwa Ibom Petroleum Crises, My Side Of The Story’, exposed series of rots, alleged extortions and deliberate sabotaging practices of some stakeholders in the petroleum marketing sub-sector in the state.

READ:  Ibom Academics Forum hails Akpabio on victory as Senate President

Osung’s release is hereunder presented in full:

“AKWA IBOM PETROLEUM CRISES

My side of the Story

Comrade Sam Osung

April 27/2024

Let me start by Thanking his Excellency Pastor Umo Eno who’s swift intervention foiled the attempt to hoard petroleum products in Akwa Ibom State. Akwa Ibom is a safe heavens for legitimate businesses and the actions of the Governor confirms that he will not humor any attempt to sabotage the state economy regardless who is involved. 

The Petroleum Downstream sub-sector is multifaceted with different category of players ranging from DAPPMAN to MOMAN, IPMAN, NOGASA, PETROAN, PTD BRANCH OF NUPENG etc. 

I want to try to be brief so I have to ignore certain details I consider not necessary but if there’s a reason to introduce those details I will do so without hesitation

I left IPMAN last year when I was appointed Chairman Caretaker Committee in NOGASA, NOGASA is a front line stakeholder Association in the industry with nearly all the major players across the country as members, the acronym NOGASA stand for NATURAL OIL AND GAS SUPPLIERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA

Members of NOGASA are suppliers of AGO, PMS, LPFO, HPFO, BITUMEN, HTK, DPK, BLUE OIL, BLACK OIL, CRUDE OIL, NAPHTHA, CNG, LPG, etc.

Our members are vendors to different companies, industries, factories as well as major end users of Oil and Gas, we mediate when there are issues between our members and their customers (end user) our members and regulators, security agencies, communities, ensure products availability for our members, as well as their welfare.

Last year Oct. I received a call from a lady in Lagos who loaded 5 Tankers of AGO from Niger Delta Refinery in Port Harcourt and the Product was to be taken to Akamkpa for supply but one of the Tankers had fault and after fixing it they decided to supply the Product to Sterling Global but PTD impounded the truck at Akpaden and demanded for #20, 000 table money so the lady refused since PTD already collected their levy at the depot before loading, PTD is an acronym for Petroleum Tanker Drivers and they are a branch of NUPENG. NUPENG is union of Junior workers in the Oil and Gas industry. It was a case of multiple taxation since they already had collected their Levy at the depot, I called the Taskforce coordinator of PTD along that area and he told me he cannot let the truck go if he is not paid that money, the next thing I heard was that they invited the Navy to take the truck to their custody and immediately I called the Information Officer NNS Jubilee in Ikot Abasi and he told me that he arrested the tanker for diversion, I told him that AGO is deregulated and now running a free market but he insisted on sending the sample for parameter analysis, I had to call the State Coordinator of NMDPRA (the defunct DPR) for intervention and he asked me to write formally to him and I did and that was how that matter was resolved.

READ:  Breaking! FAAC disburses N2.07trn to three tiers of govt; see details per state

So after my swearing in as substantive Executive Chairman of the Council in December I invited the PTD after several complaints by the suppliers, and they couldn’t justify their demands so I told suppliers to stop playing them the money. They went to Sterling Global in Eastern Obolo and demanded that the company should pay them the money instead since I have stopped the Suppliers from paying them, the Joint Management of the OML13 project NPDC and NOSL wrote to me complaining their request and I forward to their Secretariat

So they went to the Unit Chairman of IPMAN calabar unit and report that I was instigating stakeholders fight, I am stopping them from collecting levy and the Unit Chairman came down to Uyo, invited me and them to a meeting at De Castle Hotel and in the meeting after hearing from myself and them he put a call across to PTD in Cross River, Rivers, Imo asking them if they collect levy from suppliers and they all said their levy is at the depot and it is illegal to demand levy from a truck who had already paid their levy at the depot

So the man decided that since PTD is not collecting this money in other state they should stop collecting in Akwa Ibom. 

They came together and decided they were going to stop our own levy too, they came together wrote a letter to some Security agencies alleging that myself and the Army are into certain activities capable of causing disharmony in the State, they didn’t copy me in the letter and I am sure they did not copy the army. The next thing I heard was that they are accusing me of using the army to threaten Truck drivers and collecting money from them, they alleged also that I have bought over all the security agencies in Akwa Ibom and that I move around with Army, and then they alleged that I was telling people that I was the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Petroleum matters, 

So the next agitation was if NOGASA is not stopped they will stop tankers from entering Akwa Ibom

The PTD are known for using strike to bend whatever and whoever they want to bend but this time around they went and stop tankers at East west road and Calabar Itu Road illegally because they did not write to anyone that they want to stop tankers from entering Akwa Ibom, that is even against their constitution that suggests that if there’s a reason to embark on an industrial action you must write to notify the Regulators, the security, the Government and the public and state the reason for such action and the notice must not be less than 21 days but they did not write anyone. After a few days, they left everyone with the impression that I was extorting money from their tankers and that they were striking because of me and most people called me, I told the people that PTD should produce those their members whose trucks I impounded and extorted money from, the next thing was for IPMAN to issue a public Statement that they want to strike, the letter was signed by no names but the letter originated from Akwa Ibom state coordinating Committee. 

READ:  SUPREME COURT VICTORY: Etinan Council Chairman, congratulates Gov. Umo Eno, A'Ibom people

I have worked for IPMAN, IPMAN as a protocol, in IPMAN they don’t have state executives, what they have is National Executive, Zonal Executive and Unit Executives 

Akwa Ibom is not yet a unit because there are no functional depots so what they have is a coordinating Committee which is set up by the Unit Chairmen Calabar Unit and set up for administrative Convenience

It was unethical for the coordinating Committee who are not empowered to act, react and respond but report and enforce the instructions of the National Executives through the unit

He equally wrote the letter without notifying anyone as it is in the Constitution, moreover, IPMAN is not a union but a business association who are not empowered to take such actions but since what they all wanted was to do anything that can attract the Governor’s attention, they didn’t mind the effects of their actions on the masses before taking that action

But I am believing that his Excellency the Governor will investigate all this and make anyone found culpable to pay for it

It is true that the Governor terminated my appointment and in his words “you can’t be in Government as a unionist” You must leave Government and concentrate on your petroleum politics and I found nothing wrong with that statement

The Governor is a good man

Akwa Ibom and Akwa Ibomite are his priorities and he will not humor anyone trying to inconvenience Akwa Ibom People

As for being sacked by IPMAN, I left IPMAN since June last year, I was no longer with IPMAN

How about being sacked by NOGASA? I was voted for a 4 years tenure and I am only 4 months in office. I will complete my 4 years in office as Chairman. The documents flying everywhere is fake and did not emanate from NOGASA. 

I am super grateful that God as given us a man like Pastor Umo Eno who is passionate about the State, It was a privilege to work with him and I know him enough to say that anyone who wish Akwa Ibom well should support pastor Umo Eno because he has Akwa Ibom at heart. 

Comrade Sam Osung”.

As at press time, the Akwa Ibom State government has neither updated residents of the State on the root cause of the scarcity nor its efforts at ameliorating it.