Urging that the stiffest sanctions be imposed on the culprits, the Central government of Nigeria has been commended for handling the national scandal of importation of toxic premium motor spirits otherwise known as petrol into Nigeria, with an uncommon openness and transparency.
“The prompt decision of the hierarchy at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation headed by Mele Kyari to name and shame the corporate Bodies allegedly responsible for the importation recently of bad fuel into Nigeria, is indeed heartwarming to us in the credible organised human rights and non-governmental community. This openness and transparency is commendable and should be sustained going forward.”
“This is because as a constitutional democracy, apart from the explicit fundamental rights provisions enshrined in the constitution in chapter four with reference to Right to freedom of information, the decision by NNPC in calling out the allegedly defaulting companies is in line with section 22 of the constitution which provides thus: “The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people”.”
HURIWA affirmed that the extant Freedom of information Act (FOI) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is deeply rooted in promoting greater openness, transparency and accountability in government which the NNPC has just demonstrated with the aforementioned action of the Group Managing Director. This openness by NNPC will trigger the respect for greater honesty, transparency and the deliberate effort by government to end the regime of financial opaqueness and secrecy.”
HURIWA through the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and National media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf also encouraged the federal government to work out and enforce systematic compensations of claims that may result from the use of the toxic fuel by Nigerians just as the Rights group said the defaulting companies should be dragged to court by government if they fail to compensate their victims.
HURIWA is calling on the importers to spare Nigerians of needless brickbats and media war and enter into constructive dialogues with government and the victims of their bad fuel on issues of compensations to stave off huge legal damages that may come up if the victims are forced to go to court.
HURIWA recalled that the Nigerian National Company Limited (NNPC) had stated that its investigation has revealed the presence of Methanol in four petrol cargoes imported by MRS, Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium, Oando and Duke Oil.
Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, who disclosed this during a media briefing however said he has since ordered the holding back of all the affected products in transit (both truck & marine).
It was also gathered yesterday that the NNPC has asked oil trading firms to embark on emergency supply of petrol to replace cargoes that were rejected because of their poor quality, Reuters quoted two sources as having disclosed yesterday.
Apparently disturbed by the development, the federal government ordered investigation into the bad fuel that had damaged the engines of some vehicles.
In addition to disrupting the country’s fuel supply chain, the product which led to the damage of several cars, the NNPC disclosed, was imported from Antwerp in Belgium.
Speaking in Abuja, Kyari, argued that petrol brought into Nigeria usually does not include the test for the level of methanol content.
The NNPC helmsman maintained that cargoes’ quality certificates issued at the loading port in Belgium, by AmSpec Belgium, indicated that the product complied with Nigerian specification.
Furthermore, he said the NNPC quality inspectors including GMO, SGS, GeoChem and G&G conducted tests before discharge, which showed that the cargo also met the country’s standard.
“As a standard practice for all PMS import to Nigeria, the cargoes were equally certified by inspection agent appointed by the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has met Nigerian specification.
“It is important to note that the usual quality inspection protocol employed in both the load port in Belgium and our discharge ports in Nigeria do not include the test for per cent of methanol content and therefore the additive was not detected by our quality inspectors,” he said.
Kyari disclosed that the NNPC had ordered the quarantine of all un-evacuated volumes of the contaminated fuel that led to the disruption of the petrol distribution value chain, in order to prevent further distribution.
He stressed that the NNPC and other stakeholders were making serious efforts to resolve issues generated by the supply and discharge of methanol blended product in some Nigerian depots.
Kyari noted that the NNPC first received a report on January 20, 2022, from its quality inspector of the presence of “emulsion particles” in petrol cargoes shipped to Nigeria from the European country.
He added: “In order to prevent the distribution of the petrol, we have ordered the quarantine of all un-evacuated volumes and the holding back of all the affected products in transit (both truck & marine).
“All defaulting suppliers have been put on notice for remedial actions and NNPC will work with the authority to take further necessary actions in line with subsisting regulations.
“NNPC wishes to reassure Nigerians that we are currently sourcing additional cargoes to ensure product sufficiency.”
According to him, the NNPC has ordered that all the affected products in transit (both truck & marine), should be withheld.
HURIWA commended these steps highlighted by the hierarchy of NNPC just as the Rights group urged that stricter regulatory sanctions be put in place to serve as deterrent.