HomePoliticsIPMAN Begs S’East NASS Caucus To Revive Aba, Enugu Oil Depots

IPMAN Begs S’East NASS Caucus To Revive Aba, Enugu Oil Depots

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Aba Depot, has appealed to the South-East National Assembly (NASS) Caucus to wade into the lingering crisis that has crippled operations at the Aba and Enugu depots.

Mr Oliver Okolo who is the Chairman of the association, made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in his office in Aba on Tuesday.

According to Okolo, the NNPC Aba depot’s business operations came to a complete halt almost two years ago, leaving the building abandoned.

He talked at length on the dire situation of the depot and its financial effects on IPMAN members and other nearby businesses.

He said that at least 2,000 direct and indirect businesses that usually took place daily at the depot had all closed down.

According to him, at a time the depot was functioning at about 40 per cent capacity, it supported many ancillary businesses, aside from marketers.

He said that at least 200 trucks usually loaded products at the depot daily, hence engaging not less than 600 truck drivers with their two support persons.

“There were also scores of vendors in food and assorted wares, including water and drinks, amongst other businesses that were sustained by the depot.

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‘All these have shut down,’ he said, adding that the depot and it’s environs as well as the IPMAN Secretariat had been overgrown with bushes and taken over by flood water.

Okolo also said that the equipment at the 45-year-old depot, including loading amps, storage tanks and pumping machines, had long become obsolete and dysfunctional due to age.

He said that the facility needed a total overhaul and that the machines required total replacement with state-of-the-art equipment for greater efficiency.

The IPMAN chieftain also identified the deplorable state of the only road leading to the depot from Osisioma Junction, off the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, as another major setback to the operations at the depot.

‘The road got so dilapidated that trucks, cars and tricycles could not pass through to the depot,’ he said.

According to him, the marketers pooled personal funds, purchased 40 trucks of 30 tons of hard cores, which were poured on the road as palliative to make it passable.

He said that aside from their personal efforts, the association sought the intervention of former Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, who later awarded the road for rehabilitation.

He said that the project later stalled after the Federal Government allegedly directed the state to hands off because it is a federal road.

‘The situation became worse after the State Government’s contractor removed the hard core yet the Federal Government’s contractor did not mobilise to site.

‘For us, it was an irony that the Federal Government could not do the road, after it allegedly ordered Ikpeazu to stop work,’ Okolo said.

He said that the association later approached NNPC Limited to come to its rescue, “since the company is reputed to be building roads in other places”, to no avail.

He said that the prevailing poor road condition to the Aba depot was also being experienced at the Enugu depot.

‘So, we see the situation as part of the marginalisation of the South-East.

‘We, thetefore, appeal to our political office holders, especially  the South-East NASS Caucus to intervene and take up the problem in the two NNPC depots in the zone with the Presidency.

‘It is an irony that Abia, which is an oil-producing state, cannot have petroleum products, causing marketers to travel to Port Harcourt, Lagos, Calabar and other areas in search of products,’ Okolo said.

He urged the lawmakers to demand that the vandalised pipelines from Port Harcourt to Aba be replaced with new ones to ensure that products were pumped to the Aba and Enugu depots via the pipelines.

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