Petrol smuggling must stop, Buhari tells IPMAN

President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that the smuggling of petroleum products out of the country must stop and has therefore tasked the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) to cooperate with the federal government to curtail the menace.

Speaking while receiving the leadership of IPMAN at the presidential villa, Abuja on Friday, he said:  “We all know this illegal smuggling of products out of Nigeria is a threat to our national economy and security and must be stopped. I, therefore, want to urge all IPMAN members to remain committed to complying with the laws and regulations that govern the Nigerian oil and gas sector.

“To the IPMAN leadership, I want to ask you to fully collaborate with Government by exposing those members who participate in these illegal activities.”

While thanking the association for what he said was its significant support and contributions made during 2018 in ensuring Nigerians have an adequate supply of petroleum products throughout the year, he said he was particularly happy to note that the association has used your large network of petrol retail stations across the nooks and crannies of this country to distribute petroleum products sustainably.

He added: “I am told that your members, in many instances, went beyond the call of duty to support the NNPC and other government agencies in ensuring products are adequately available for our citizens especially during the festive seasons.

“I am also very pleased to hear that your members are planning to invest in refinery and petrochemical facilities. This clearly shows that IPMAN, like the APC, also has plans to move to the NEXT LEVEL.

“I want to assure you that this Administration will fully support this investment which aligns with Nigeria’s Energy Security Agenda.

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“As I commend you on the successes you have recorded so far, I also want to ask that you continue to support the government in ensuring petroleum products meant for Nigeria are not illegally taken out of Nigeria.

“It is with great pleasure that I welcome you the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).”

He also thanked IPMAN for the support and confidence it has shown in his administration, assuring that government will continue to do it best for Nigerians.

In his address at the occasion,  the National President of IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, thanked the president for his support for the association which has ensured that in the last three years, there has been no petroleum products scarcity.

He said: “This is indeed an indication of your managerial capability, sagacity and experience. By virtue of this, I want to assure you our dear President that all members of our great association are solidly behind you – one hundred per cent and are unshaken in our resolve to ensure your re-election.

“In the same vein, we are committed to ensuring that this good work continues as we pledge our own contributions to ensure the continuous free flow and distribution of petroleum products across the country without any hitches.

“It is on record that before your emergence, petroleum products distribution was a big racket riddled with highwire scam and decadent corruption.

“The perennial fuel scarcity was the noticeable symptom of this malaise. But when you came on board that evil network of graft in the sector was dismantled and the nation is better for it as there is unhindered products availability year round.”