Akwa Ibom and Cross River States may face fuel scarcity due to the decision by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, IPMAN, Calabar Depot, to shut down all petrol stations.
The Association arrived at the decision sequel to a series of meetings with some stakeholders in Calabar, the capital of Cross River, over what it described as “incessant harassments of its leadership by police authorities.”
A few months ago, the Cross River State Governor, Professor Ben Ayade proscribed the activities of IPMAN due to a leadership tussle, which lead to fuel supply crisis in the area.
It would also be recalled that in a bid to resolve the internal crisis and its spillover effect, the national executive of the association appointed an interim chairman, Mr. Roberts Obi, to conduct fresh elections for Cross River and Akwa Ibom States.
The association described the move by the operatives of Nigeria Police Force from Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory to “arrest the interim chairman and close down the Calabar office after the national leadership of IPMAN and the Cross River government resolved grey areas as shocking”.
The spokesperson for the stakeholders forum, Joseph Akan said “last week some police officers came from Abuja claiming that they are from Inspector General of Police’s office and this week another set came still claiming they are from the same office for the same IPMAN”.
“Please we are pleading with these officers to leave Calabar petrol dealers alone instead of igniting the problem. The state government had intervened in the problem and had resolved whatever issues that were lingering. Our members are waiting for last minute directive from our leaders to close shops until they leave Calabar.”
The immediate past Senior Special Adviser to Governor Ben Ayade on Public Communication, Tony Undeandeye said that it was unfortunate that after the interventions by the State government, another shutdown was frightening.
Undeandeye, who was the Chairman of special committee set up by the government to wade into the crisis in IPMAN, expressed concern that the current threat would impact the economy of the people after weeks of fuel scarcity last time.
He, however, appealed to IPMAN to suspend the action to close down filling stations particularly in Cross River, assuring that “the government is ready to ensure that the existing peace is not threatened as any closure at this time will affect the economy and people”.