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By NBF News
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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Aba chapter, has threatened to close fuel stations in the South-east should the management of Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) fail to pump petroleum products to Aba depot.

The depot, for the past 10 years, has not received any products despite repeated representations, IPMAN, claimed it has made.

The atmosphere was tensed at the depot yesterday as youths from communities of pipelines right of ways led by the Chairman, Mr. Solomon Ohia, joined IPMAN members to protest PPMC's failure to pump products to the depot in the past 10 years. This, they said, was another form of marginalization of Ndigbo since the Enugu depot, the second in the zone, had gone out of use.

Addressing newsmen, Mr Simple Nwamkpa, chairman of Aba depot reactivation committee, said PPMC promised to pump products to the depot by second week of March but which they did not do.

He said their patience was running out over PPMC's persistent failure to pump products to Aba depot, stressing that the company had ulterior motive for its failure to pump products to the depot, which he said had over 700 marketers that supply petroleum products to the entire South-east and beyond.

'What reasons should PPMC management give for not pumping petroleum products to Aba, which is only 54 kilometres from Port Harcourt while they are pumping products to long distance depots in Gombe, Suleja, Ilorin and Shagamu, among others which is between 300 to 400 kilometers,' he said. He urged the South-east governors, members of the National Assembly and state assembly of South-east extraction to intervene in the matter before the situation gets out of hand.

'Our patience have been tasked enough as we no longer know what to tell our teeming members are the reasons for PPMC not pumping products to Aba depot.'' Nwamkpa said it had had series of meetings with PPMC both at the area office in Port Harcourt and the headquarters in Abuja. He said in one of the meetings in Abuja on February 15, both parties agreed, among other things, that PPMC would do the final pressure test of the pipelines by the first week of March and finally pump products to the Aba depot by the second week of the month, but that nothing had happened ever since.

According to him, the first three points of the agreement reached at the meeting had been met including the pressure testing of the pipelines, which recorded close to 100 per cent success.'Now just about the last week of March, PPMC once again reneged on its promise to pump products to Aba depot,'' he said.

He said that IPMAN, Aba unit engaged over 130 youths from various communities of the pipelines right of ways to provide surveillance to the pipelines which they carried out successfully even though they were still being owed some money.

Nwamkpa urged PPMC to, as a matter of urgency, pump petroleum products to Aba depot, adding that if nothing was, IPMAN would take measures that would ground business activities in the zone and the country at large.