By Chimezie Anaso
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), has condemned what it described as the attempt by State governments to take over the role of the regulator of the downstream petroleum operations in Southeast.
Mr Chinedu Anyaso, chairman of IPMAN, Enugu Depot, in charge of Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu States, said this in an interview with newsmen in Awka on Sunday.
Anyaso said state governments did not have the standardised and approved equipment to measure the accuracy of dispensing machines and they lacked the powers to supervise downstream petroleum operations.
He said IPMAN condemned the invasion of marketers’ outlets by state governments in the guise of enforcing prices and monitoring dispensing machines.
He said Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) remained the only constitutionally-empowered body to regulate downstream sector operations and that states were free to work with them if they wished.
According to him, state governments are not empowered to carry out regulatory functions over downstream operators; they lack the expertise and the seraphim bottles they are using are not certified to have been properly calibrated.
“NMDPRA is the only body empowered by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), Sec 48 (1), to carry out all the regulatory activities in the sector.
“IPMAN Enugu depot condemns the invasion of our filling stations; Anambra government did it and we protested but most recently, the Enugu State government is doing the same thing with deliberate effort to blackmail some of our members.
“This is sheer overzealousness on the part of some aides of governors. We call on our governors to call these people to order, to avoid putting IPMAN on a collision course with state governments,” he warned.
Anyaso said IPMAN was not absolving its members of sharp practices but insisted that state governments should collaborate with NMDPRA, established by the Federal Government to supervise the sector if the need arises.
“IPMAN is not by any means saying that all our members are free from malpractice. We are not holding brief for them either; all we are saying is that things should be done properly by the appropriate authority.
“NMDPRA has offices in almost all the states, so state governments should work with them. On our part, IPMAN has a taskforce as an internal mechanism to check infractions by our members,” he said.