The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Enugu Depot Unit, has begun another round of withdrawal of its services in Enugu and its environs after IPMAN in conjunction with Tanker Drivers Union did a similar thing in Imo that had rippling effects in Abia State and as a result, the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) shot up astronomically.
The Alhaji Sanusi Fari led national leadership of IPMAN had directed marketers attached to the Enugu Depot Unit in charge of Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu States to withdraw their services effective Friday, September 17, 2021, following alleged invasion of its Enugu Secretariat by Police on Wednesday.
The withdrawal of their services at Enugu loading depot was with immediate effect.
The strike notice stated among other things: “This will stop our services to members of the public in Enugu, Anambra, and Ebonyi from Sept. 17 until the police illegality is reversed,” Fari directed.
Based on this, members of the association withdrew their services and in the process threw residents of the state into turmoil.
In most parts of Anambra save for Awka, the state capital where there were skeletal services compliance was total.
In the commercial town of Onitsha, most filling stations were shut to motorists who had to resort to black market operators who sell at the rate of between N220 and N250 per litre.
In Awka, the directive to close shop was largely complied with but a few who opened for business hiked their price, saying they were not sure of supply when they exhaust their stock.
The NNPC Mega Station was also closed to the public.
One of the marketers who pleaded anonymity said they had to obey because they would not condone illegal takeover of a leadership they lawfully elected for themselves in the zone.
A source close to police headquarters maintained that police should enforce the judgment on the national leadership in Abuja where there were factions instead of destabilising the Southeast.
The source said, “Just a day after we resumed business as a result of the Imo-PTD crisis, they created another problem of strike for us, but we have to obey because we have one leadership here.
“It is painful though, we have to pay salary, repay loans, our appeal is that the rule of law should be followed to reduce the suffering of the masses”.
When contacted, Mr Chinedu Anyaso, the chairman of Enugu depot who was forcefully evicted said he could not enter the secretariat as thugs have invaded the premises.
Anyaso urged IPMAN members to remain calm and take directives from the national leadership while expressing hope that normalcy would return soon as relevant stakeholders including the Police and Enugu State government were intervening on the matter.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.