Alleged Extortion: Call petroleum tanker drivers to order, IPMAN urges FG

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By Emmanuella Anokam

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has urged the Federal Government to prevail upon the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), to stop forthwith the illegal levy imposed on their members.

IPMAN National Public Relation Officer (PRO), Yakubu Suleiman, said during a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday that the call followed a meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the association.

Suleiman said it had become imperative for Nigerians especially the Federal Government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to know those allegedly sabotaging the distribution of Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) in the country.

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“We want the government and NNPCL to be aware that Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), as an association, is allegedly the number one enemy of fuel subsidy removal and deregulation,” he said.

Suleiman said that the PTD had allegedly exhibited an act of sabotage on PMS distribution by levying IPMAN members N23,000 for each truck loaded at the depot.

He described the levy as an “extortion”, while calling on President Bola Tinubu and the NNPCL to call the tanker driver to order.

The IPMAN PRO said that the levy imposed on their members by tanker drivers had further depleted the little profit left for them to keep their fuel distribution business going.

He said that a truck load of PMS initially cost them about seven million naira but that the subsidy removal pushed it to above 23 million naira to load and transport the same product to their various fuel stations.

“We have been fighting extortion by petroleum tanker drivers for about 10 years now and we have been telling them that this market is based on profit but our pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

“They have been extorting different amounts from our members; from N200,000 and we thought that with the removal of subsidy that the era of extortion will go, unfortunately, more have been added.

“Reports have reached our secretariat of another levy of N23,000 being collected by PTD from our members and we don’t know what that money is for.

“We make a profit of only N500,000 on each truck of PMS we now buy at above 23 million naira and it can take us days or weeks to sell.

“Inside that N500,000, there are other logistics that we must take care of, especially providing fuel for the truck that will carry the product, providing fuel for the engine that will carry light at the stations and so on.

“At the end of the day we are left with about N200,000; we do it out of patriotism and support to the FG and NNPCL, then from nowhere our members are paying N23,000 for what they don’t know about,” Suleiman said.

He therefore, urged PTD to steer clear of that levy as they have instructed IPMAN members to stop the payment.

The IPMAN PRO said that continuing the levy or extortion would lead them to taking a drastic action, to protect their members.

“If nothing is done, we will call our members to stop loading and we have given a time frame to watch development before we carry out our action.

“We urge them to call PTD to order to henceforth stop collecting these levies from our members. Trucks belong to us an drivers work for us, then, why are we been surcharged for providing food for the family.

“The constitution of PTD allows them to collect only N300 from their members, not outside and not from IPMAN. We support PIA.

“As IPMAN, we levy only our members; we don’t levy other organisations or associations, which is what our constitution says, but to our chagrin, tanker drivers left their territory and started further levying of IPMAN members.

“At the moment we are working on ensuring that more importers join the NNPCL to bring in PMS. And we hope that the price will soon begin to come down since the market forces determine the price.

“We assure President Bola Tinubu and NNPCL that IPMAN as an association, is in full support of deregulation and we will continue to ensure that supply and distribution of petroleum products succeed in the country. (NAN)

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