ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, YENAGOA
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has vowed to intensify its fight against oil theft and oil tankers’ blockage of roads in the Southsouth/Southeast regions of the country.
IPMAN’s President, Mr Chinedu Okonronko, made this known in a statement on Wednesday after the formal inauguration and presentation of a renowned estate developer, Mr Sunday Chukwemeka, as the IPMAN Coordinator in Anambra State.
Okoronkwo said the association would not relax on its laurels in the fight to make sure pipeline vandals, oil thieves and other criminalities were reduced to the barest minimum.
He appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for commending IPMAN’s contributions to the drastic drop in the percentage of crude oil theft.
He vowed that IPMAN would no longer tolerate the indiscriminate use of oil tankers to block roads along the states in the two regions.
He said the Southsouth and Southeast zones led by Anambra and Bayelsa chapters had done well in the battle against oil theft.
The IPMAN boss recalled that President Buhari and the NNPC agreed that the association had assisted in reducing the cases of oil theft and vandalism to over 35 per cent and assured all its chapters that the association is solidly behind them and would not relent.
Okoronkwo flayed those involved in the illegal blocking of roads with petrol tankers to desist from the illegal act, warning them that IPMAN would deal with ruthlessly with errant officials.
“Petroleum marketers will not be allowed to engage in illegal activities of blocking the roads. The roads should be cleared for easy movement of motorists and other road users,” he warned.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Bayelsa Chapter of IPMAN, Hon. Bello Bina, said though the task of confronting illegal activities of pipeline vandals and oil thieves was tedious, members had resolved to confront oil thieves head-on.
He advised that all hands must be on the deck to combat crude oil theft and the reckless blockade of major expressways by errant tankers’ drivers across the two regions and the country in general.
Earlier, Chukwemeka, who was appointed based on his pedigree in the oil and gas sector, assured President Muhammadu Buhari, IPMAN national executives and the security agencies of his readiness to work and put a stop to illegal activities of vandals, oil thieves and oil tanker owners involved in menace of road blocking.
Chukwemeka called on major stakeholders including the Police, Joint Military Task Force and IPMAN members to assist IPMAN in actualising the mandate thrust upon it by President Buhari.
He also warned that anyone caught engaging in unwholesome activities contrary to interest of the nation’s oil and gas sector would be arrested and prosecuted.