Adulterated petrol: No sanctions for NNPC, importers, say Reps
The House of Representatives, on Thursday, has said nobody will be sanctioned for the supply of adulterated Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise known as petrol, which caused a major crisis in Nigeria’s fuel chain and untold hardships on Nigerians.
At the plenary on Thursday, the House considered and adopted the reviewed report on the investigation by its Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream), which exonerated both the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, former Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, and the suppliers in the Direct Sale-Direct Purchase deal between the Federal Government and the importers.
Tempers had frayed in the House on February 10, 2022, over the importation of methanol-contaminated petrol. Several members who spoke on the development called for sanctions against Federal Government agencies and officials who failed to carry out due diligence before passing the product for onward distribution to marketers.
The House had consequently resolved to investigate the matter, insisting that those in the import and distribution chain, whose action or inaction led to the spread of the commodity, must be held accountable.
The Majority Whip, Mohammed Monguno, had moved a motion of urgent public importance, titled ‘Need to Investigate the Release and Sale of Adulterated Premium Motor Spirit in Petrol Stations Across Nigeria.’
Adopting the motion, the House mandated the Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) to “investigate the release of adulterated PMS across the country, with a view to ensuring that culprits are brought to book as well as make recommendations towards curbing a reoccurrence of such incident.”
The House also asked the committee to “ascertain whether the Nigerian specification concerning importation, distribution and dispensing of the alleged toxic petrol in Nigeria, from January till date, complies with international standards.”
Also, the lawmakers further asked the committee to “investigate the roles played by the NNPC Limited, Standard Organisation of Nigeria, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigerian Navy, any other government regulatory agencies, limited liabilities companies and individuals in the unfortunate episode.”
Furthermore, the House asked the NNPC Limited to suspend the four companies involved in the importation of the adulterated PMS.
However, the committee had presented a report which failed to address the main issues for which it ordered the probe, causing the House to reject it.
Several members of the House had, on March 23, 2022, criticised the earlier report by the committee as failing to hold any persons, group or company responsible for the development or recommend sanctions.
The PUNCH observed that the recommendations in the second report were similar to those in the first version.
In the report adopted on Thursday, the committee recommended “that the Hon. Minister of Petroleum Resources should expedite action for completion of the rehabilitation work and ensure upgrading of the major refineries at Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna to meet AFRI5 Specification, to boost local refining and reduce over-dependence on imported PMS into Nigeria to avert reoccurrence.”
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), is the Minister of Petroleum Resources, while Timipre Sylva is the Minister of State.
The committee also recommended “that the Hon. Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, should initiate the adoption of the 2017 PMS Standard (NIS 116:2017) as approved by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, which include testing for methanol for future importation of the product into the country to mitigate reoccurrence;
“That the Federal Government should position the SON to implement its mandate to the latter by subjecting all imported white petroleum and other products to the offshore conformity assessment, and resume routine quality control of them and other products imported into the country at our various seaports, airports and borders throughout Nigeria as enshrined in the Standards Organisation of Nigeria enabling Act of 2015.”
According to the panel, this will finally address the reoccurrence of the importation of off-specification PMS and other substandard goods into Nigeria.
The committee further recommended “that based on the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited exoneration, the four oil marketers/importers (Duke Oil; MRS Oil and Gas; Oando Oil; and Emadeb, Energy/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Britannia-U Consortium) did not commit any offence, therefore, not recommended for suspension.
“That the Federal Government is to note that the SON’s mandate is also specifically enshrined in item 62 (d) of Part I of the Second Schedule (Exclusive Legislative List), to the 1999 Constitution.
“That the regulatory authority, in this case Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, should ensure proper housekeeping by working with Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria in ensuring water is drained regularly out of the tanks in the tank farms, tankers (trucks) and underground tanks at the service stations.
“That the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited shall maintain local supply and distribution of 90 million litres daily across the country until normalcy is restored.