By Valentine Amanze
At the peak of the General Sani Abacha dictatorship in 1995, Nigerians woke up to the reality that foul-smelling petrol had flooded all the filling stations in Nigeria. Motor mechanics experienced boom as motorists were bringing in knocked engine vehicles for repair. Bouyant ones even preferred buying new vehicles. It was a callasius demage to the economy of Nigerians until the adultrated petrol dried up in the filling statations.
Of cause no one was compensated for the loss, while none was sanctioned for the wicked importation because the ruling junta was involved.
Twenty seven years after, Nigerians are suffering a worst situation from their government.
It took a bold move in the social media by a lady, whose car was damaged by the fuel, for the government to acknowledge the existence of the bad product.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which on Thursday, acknowleged the importation of the toxic product, is trying to exonerate itsself from the mace.
It stated that four importers were responsible for the importation of petrol containing a high level of methanol, which forced major Nigerian cities to suffer fuel scarcity after NNPC halted the circulation of the bad fuel. The company also assured that it was working to normalise supplies in the coming days.
NNPC boss, Mele Kyari, said in a statement by the company’s spokesman, Garba Deen Muhammad, that MRS, Oando, Duke Oil and a consortium of consisting Emadeb /Hyde/ AY Maikifi/ Brittania-U were responsible for bringing in the fuel.
Details of the vessels used to import the bad fuel were also published by NNPC. The regulator said all the cargos came in from Antwerp, Belgium.
Kyari said that the quality certificates issued at load port in Antwerp by AmSpec Belgium indicated that the petrol complied with Nigerian specifications.
He pointed out that the corporation received a report from its quality inspector on January 20, 2022 on the presence of emulsion particles in PMS cargoes shipped to Nigeria from Antwerp.
He said that further investigations revealed the presence of methanol in four PMS cargoes imported by MRS, Oando, Duke Oil and the Emadeb /Hyde/AY Maikifi/ Brittania-U consortium.
“The NNPC quality inspectors including GMO, SGS, GeoChem and G&G conducted tests before discharge also showed that the gasoline met Nigerian specification,” Kyari said.
Kyari noted that as a standard practice for all PMS imports to Nigeria, the said cargoes were equally certified by an inspection agent appointed by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDRA).
NMDRA said that while methanol was a “regular additive in petrol and usually blended in an acceptable quantity,” the levels in the four cargoes were higher than Nigeria’s specification.
“It is important to note that the usual quality inspection protocol employed in both the load port in Belgium and our discharge ports in Nigeria do not include the test for Percent methanol content & therefore the additive was not detected by our quality inspectors,” Kyari said.
However, to prevent the distribution of the petrol, the NNPC CEO said the company promptly ordered the quarantine of all un-evacuated volumes and the holding back of all the affected products in transit.
Kyari said that all defaulting suppliers had been put on notice for remedial actions and that NNPC and NMDRA would take further necessary actions in line with subsisting regulations.
Rhetoric in deed by the NNPC boss; but Nigerians know that the NNPC is the sole importer and exporter of petroleum products; how come the involvement of the second party – the aforementioned companies?
President Muhammadu Buhari is also Nigeria’s petroleum minister; why is this scam happening under his ministry?
Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is the government’s agency incharge of the fight against fake and substandard products; was it aware of the consignment? Where were the officials of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Customs, when the consignments arrive?
Who pays for the huge loss Nigerians are suffering as a result of government’s negligence of its responsibilities?
If it were in the sane climes heads of parastatals and ministries involved would have thrown in the towel.
The welfare of Nigerian must be paramount to selfish gains of individuals and cabals.
Again, Nigerian refinaries must be repaid to avoid importing products that will damage our health and economy.