The lingering factional crisis rocking the Benin depot branch of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has degenerated into a bigger squabble that consumers fear could hamper fuel supply in the state.
The crisis has given rise to one of the factions led by Johnbull Asemota, a former PTD’s leader, while the second camp is under the supervision of one Douglas Iyike. The tussle took a dramatic twist recently when the national body, in solidarity with Asemota faction issued a directive to tanker drivers nationwide to halt fuel supply to the entire Edo State.
Notwithstanding, the fact that the order was called off, marketers have continued to decry the activities of the union leaders in Benin who they said are not adding any value to the industry. They also called on the government to proscribe all forms of unionisms around the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) depots.
A petroleum marketer in Benin, Ben Mamoud, noted that the action would cripple supply as the state relies on product from Lagos, Warri, Delta State and Port Harcourt, Rivers State.He added that the two leaders were laying claim to IPMAN leadership due to the privileges and spoils that accrue to the position.
According to him, the union leaders collect product from the depot management and sell in the black market operating openly in the depot while the filling stations used to obtain the product are out of supply. As a result, most marketers get product above the official price while the union executives and their official connivers go home with millions of naira.
Investigations have also shown that few union leaders who benefit from the alleged spoil of allocation have established substandard or non-functional filling stations for the purpose of obtaining allocations which they often divert to places where they can sell at a premium.
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