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Contaminated PMS in circulation puts motorists at risk, compounds scarcity concerns

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NIGERIAN motorists may have to deal with a much more difficult situation beyond long queues as information available to The ICIR reveals that there is contaminated Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in circulation.

Currently, there are long queues in major Nigerian cities of Lagos and Abuja, despite the Federal Government’s decision to retain subsidy for the next 18 months.

However, major oil marketers have informed The ICIR that currently, there is contaminated fuel in circulation.

“We have a vessel that imports fuel that  got contaminated because the suppliers tried to mix methanol to the fuel which increased the sulphur content. This negates Nigeria’s specification for PMS,”  Adetunji Oyebanji, the immediate past Chairman of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) told The ICIR in an exclusive interview.

Adetunji added, “The truth of the matter is that basically some of the suppliers mixed ethanol with fuel. In some countries, it happens when you blend 95 per cent of gasoline and five per cent of ethanol, and it’s against Nigeria’s specification.”

Adetunji also confirmed that the vessel with the contaminated PMS came in last week and the product had been sold to some Nigerians.

He explained that Nigerian government was trying to address the problem since the contaminated vessel would still be used for further fuel imports.

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Adetunji said the development was responsible for the scarcity of PMS and long queues at filling stations.

“The delays, as you see in the filling stations, are as a result of this and the authorities discovered that the contamination would affect the ones being imported.

“They are trying to clean up adequately before subsequent imports. This is what is causing the long queues currently,” he said.

Also speaking on the development, President of the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Chinedu Okoronkwo said the Nigeria National Petroleum Limited (NNPC) had commenced efforts to remove the contaminated PMS from circulation.

“There is high sulphur content in the fuel in circulation, but we’ve got assurance from NNPC that the fuel has been removed.”

Reacting to concerns that some motorists were dumping their vehicles at filling stations where they bought the contaminated fuel, he said such motorists had the right to make complaints.

“There shouldn’t be any problem with people dumping their damaged vehicles at various filling stations they bought the fuel. It is the first port of call for them and they have right to do so.”

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Meanwhile, the NNPC is yet to issue a statement on the development.

Several calls put to its spokesperson Garbadeen Muhammad in a bid to get an official reaction was not successful.

Apart from the NNPC mega stations in Abuja, as well as AA Rano and Shema and a few others, most filling stations in Abuja are currently not selling fuel.

The ugly sight of black marketers in front of major filling stations in Abuja has resurfaced, as motorists who couldn’t stay in the long queues patronise them.

The Federal Government recently  explained that the extension of the period for removal of fuel subsidy was informed by President Mohammadu Buhari’s insistence that all the necessary structures must be put in place to cushion the impact of the removal on the citizens.

The decision is likely to take out about N2.5 trillion from the Federation Account to fund subsidy for the 18 months duration, going by the 2021 subsidy cost put at N1.7 trillion by the NNPC.

The suspension of subsidy removal would also mean that the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) which provided for the complete removal of subsidy is now suspended, a development which experts said may jeopardise some expected benefits of the Act, including attraction of private domestic and international capital into the downstream sector of the industry.

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