As the federal government intensifies engagements with Nigerians on its readiness to fully deregulate the downstream arm of the petroleum industry, controversy is rife over the sudden increase in the number of petrol stations owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), popularly called NNPC Mega Stations, across the country.
Some industry watchers are concerned about the growing number of these petrol dispensing stations, and are insinuating that some persons with links to the oil and gas regulatory agencies, some of whom are retired NNPC officials, may have set up parallel retail outlets thereby taking positions in petrol retail business to cash in on the anticipated deregulated petrol industry.
According to a source, these individuals may be masterminds of the NNPC retail outlets that are scattered in some parts of Lagos and Ogun states.
“We have one before Shagamu interchange. Between Oju Ore in Ota to Winners Chapel, all in Ogun State, there are almost eight of these petrol stations, why? Urgent measure must be put in place to sanitise the industry. Others are located in Alfa Nla Agege, Estate, Ipaja, Ipaja Road, Agege, Dopemu Road, Iyana Orile, all in Lagos. Some of the retired NNPC officials own almost 70 per cent of these petrol stations,’’ the source claimed.
‘‘Who is behind the parallel retail outlet? Who is more powerful than the government? Who are the regulators? Where are they sourcing fuel from? Why is government looking away? Who is defrauding Nigerians? Nigerians need clarification on which one is authentic,’’ said another source.
Speaking further, he said,‘‘They are daring the government with these stations. Who is responsible to oversee the retail outlets? A lot of questions begging for answers.’’
Speaking with our correspondent on the issue yesterday, the national president of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, said the NNPC retail has been in existence for some time.
“I see their operation as competing in the downstream segment. However, we are calling for full deregulation to engender fair practices and level playing ground. The marketers are in two major categories, it’s either you are a major marketer or you are an independent marketer. We have the instrument to monitoring our members but I have not heard of any individual posing as NNPC retailer because you must be a member of an association for proper guidance,” he said.
However, our source in the NNPC confirmed that the stations are owned by the NNPC and have their own logo to differentiate them from the well-known mega stations.
the source, the NNPC has admitted ownership of these stations as its affiliate.
LEADERSHIP reports that the NNPC Retail Limited is a fully-owned subsidiary of the NNPC that operates in the downstream sector of the Nigerian oil and gas industry. The NNPC Retail began when NNPC in 2000 disposed of its 40 per cent interest share capital in African Petroleum, Unipetrol and National Oil, resulting in the complete loss of its influence exercised in the retail segment of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry.
Disclaimer: The Post Controversy Trails Ownership Of NNPC Retail Outlets was first Published by Chika Izuoraon leadership.ng.