A former Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mike Ejiofor has explained why the country’s secret police gave 48-hour ultimatum to oil marketers to make Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol available for Nigerians.
Ejiofor, who gave the explanation while speaking on Channels Television Sunrise programme on Tuesday morning, said the DSS made the move to forestall another #OccupyNigeria Protest.
“The DSS is charged with providing intelligence for the maintenance of the internal security of this country. You will recall #OccupyNigeria, if you continue to see people in queues, the tendency for people to rise up against government is there whereas there is fuel,” he said.
#OccupyNigeria was a socio-political protest against the then government of President Goodluck Jonathan in January 2012. The protest, a response to the government’s announcement on subsidy removal and hike in petrol price from N65 per litre to N141, rocked the country’s major cities.
Last Thursday, amid biting fuel scarcity across Nigeria, the DSS directed oil marketers and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to resolve the fuel crisis within 48 hours, saying the situation is detrimental to the security of the country.
Ejiofor, on Tuesday, argued that the DSS’ action was an ‘advisory’ and not an ‘ultimatum’. He said the ‘advisory’ has eased off the situation “which shows that there is intelligence in what is going on because there is a lot of fraud in the oil sector”.
“Following the advisory by the DSS, I believe they are going to follow it up, possibly inviting the people responsible to give account of what is happening and Nigerians will begin to see (developments),” the ex-DSS director added.
He, however, sympathised with oil marketers who have lamented their ordeal in the hands of private depot owners. Ejiofor said the marketers will have the issues resolved by the time subsidy is removed and the market liberalised.
For weeks, vehicle owners especially in Lagos and Abuja have had a tough time getting petrol from filling stations. Whilst many outlets are closed, the few ones that are open sell the indispensable commodity for as high as N250 per litre above the uniform price of N169/litre.
The shortage of supply has led to long, gruelling snake-like queues at the few open filling stations as motorists and business owners jostle to buy fuel while others resort to the black market.
The situation also worsened traffic on major roads as vehicle owners block at least one lane to join queues to filling stations.
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