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How contaminated fuel got into Nigeria through poor checks

Responsible regulatory agencies' must be sanctioned, Nigerians insists

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NIGERIANS have been inundated with the news of contaminated fuel in circulation since last week across the country, as poor regulatory checks have been identified as the major cause of the importation of such low-level fuel into the country.

The current subsidy regime, makes the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited,  the sole importer and supplier of all fuels in Nigeria, findings have shown.

Also, the NNPC Limited as the importer of last resort according to enabling act is also largely responsible for the importation of the contaminated Premium Motor Spirit.

Confirming this development, MRS oil Limited, an energy company on Wednesday said the NNPC through the trading arm Duke oil, supplied a cargo of PMS purchased from international trader Litasco and delivered it with motor Tanker, MT Nord Gainer.


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In an official statement issued through its Twitter page, MRS said: “This Vessel discharged in Apapa between the 24th and 30th January 2022, and the following major marketers with receiving quantities were recipients of the product: OVH 10,000mt, MRS 5,000 mt, NIPCO 5,958. mt ARDOVA 6,000mt,and Total 10,000. ”

“As  one of of the beneficiaries, it received the product in its depot and distributed it to only 8 of its stations in Lagos,”

“Following delivery into tank, it was observed that the product appeared hazy and dark; management immediately directed that further sales should be stopped and the products isolated. Urgent steps were taken to analyse the product to determine the basis for its contamination.

Being one of the recipients of the contaminated fuel, MRS noted that product analysis revealed that the PMS discharged by Nord Gainer had 20 percent methanol-an illegal substance in Nigeria.

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“As of the time of the press release, MRS had a total of 350 000 litres in tank at the 8 stations; we await the approval from NNPC and the NMDPRA for the return of the product. The 8 stations have been isolated but there are other thanks within the stations, which will receive the uncontaminated product for sale as soon as possible.”

Responding to the development, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Otherwise known as “The Authority”) has reacted to the development insisting that it is on course in isolating contaminated Petroleum products.

Farouk Ahmed, who heads the regulatory agency while speaking to the media on the issue said the agency is fully aware of the contaminated fuel in circulation, and working hard to segment it from cleaner ones.

According to Farouk, “We as a body has identified the problem, what we are trying to do is to deal with it as should.

“This we are doing by making sure that the goods in transit do not make its way to the station and consumers’ car engine.

Informed analysts picked holes in the explanations by the authority as they want appropriate sanctions meted out to defaulting regulatory agencies.

Speaking on the development, Abel Akeni-Head of Research and Policy Advisory Department, Budgit Nigeria said the President who heads the Ministry of Petroleum and the Presidency should be held responsible.

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He said: “Those responsible for this adulteration should be identified and penalised. People should be penalised beyond recalling the adulterated fuel and it is important that the government demonstrates that leadership.

Abel said:” It’s not the first time. Some of the diesel we use, you can look at the quality and tell for yourself. Look at the Niger Delta and the environmental degradation. All of this won’t be happening if our refineries are working.”

Also, an Associate Consultant for the British Department for International Development, (DFID) Celestine Okeke queried why the Federal government is yet to sanction the regulators who passed the contaminated fuel into the country.

Okeke questioned why the regulatory agencies are not sanctioned, why they are busy telling Nigerians they will mop up the contaminated PMS.

“Where do we take the contaminated fuel to and who pays for the logistics. What will the NNPC and the Authority do with the returned PMS? It shows that no safety pre-shipment was done before importation.

“Who inspected the PMS before it gets into the country. Look, brother, their explanation on recall of contaminated fuel is not enough, they need to be sanctioned.

When the ICIR contacted the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, SON, Bola Fashina who heads the corporate communications depart said the government has asked them to come out of the Ports since 2011.

“The government has asked us to come out of the Ports since the time of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala. We are not in charge, the Authority is.”Fashina said.

The former Chairman of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, Adetunji Oyebanji told the ICIR that there is currently a technical committee working on cleaning up the vessel for the investment.

When prodded further on the agencies that failed on the duty, he said, “The insertion of methanol to the tune of 20 percent shouldn’t have been there at all. There is a default from the insertion of methanol from the supplier.

Notably, NMDPRA’s encompasses a merger of three defunct regulatory agencies: Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Petroleum Equalization Fund {Management} Board (PEFMB), the Midstream and Downstream Divisions of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

Author profile

Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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