Following panic buying of petrol in major cities in the country and seemingly return of cues in the filling stations occasioned by scarcity of the product, the Federal Government has initiated the process to investigate the supply of adulterated petrol to the country, which has given motorists serious concerns in the last few days as the cause of the shortfall in supply.
This followed a briefing on the matter provided to President Muhammadu Buhari by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, who confirmed to correspondents on Wednesday that the aim is to get to the bottom of the matter.
Speaking after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja, Sylva cautioned against drawing conclusions before the investigation is completed.
Asked whether the issue was discussed at the Council meeting and whether the suppliers will be punished, he said: “The issue did not come up in Council, but of course, you will recall I was here yesterday to brief Mr President on the issue. I’m not in a position to disclose the identities of the companies, but there are some issues and we are actively tackling it.
“Nobody has, before now, checked for methanol in our fuel, it’s not very usual and this is the first time this is happening and NNPC is very much up to the task.
“I will also convey your question to NNPC and maybe the Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority, but we’re actively handling it and I want to assure you that the problem will be a thing of the past very soon.”
The minister assured that the government will consider compensating those who may have been adversely affected by the bad fuel.
Speaking further on possible sanctions for the companies, Sylva stated: “I didn’t expect you to rush to any conclusions. There’ll be a major investigation to unravel everything and then let’s really get to the bottom of it before we can come back and tell you what is going to happen to the culprits.
“We know that some people’s vehicles must have also been damaged, that is also going to be taken into consideration in dealing with the situation.”
The Minister of State had also spoken on the approval granted to his ministry by the council, saying that FEC closed out the contract for the construction of the 17-storey local content building in Yenagoa at the cost of N1.817 billion.
He explained: “You will recall that in 2020, Mr President already commissioned that project. There were some ancillary works that had to be done to connect some of the buildings and that was now presented to the council for the sum of N1.817 billion. This now closes out this contract and we have told the contractor this is the full and final payment for everything.
“So, this is the end of this project and we have completely delivered this to Nigerians.”
In his presentation, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said FEC approved a contract for the replacement of Aviation Operations (AvO) at the cost of N12,097,215,800.09.
He explained: “So, today in Council, a memo was presented by us in aviation. And the amount of the contract to be awarded whose purpose is to replace our AVO bridges is N12,097,215,800.09, which is for 12 months and it will include 7.5% VAT.
“This contract is not only for supplying but it’s also for installation and maintenance, including spare parts and is awarded to a company called Gulf of Africa International Limited.
“This has been taken by the council and approved and to say that this is part of all that we’ve been doing to reactivate the failing infrastructure within the country. And of course, Lagos being the major airport in the country, this will make passenger facilitation easier, safer and of course, it will add value and create more efficiency within the system of that particular airport. And that this is also an ongoing programme for all of our failed airports.”