The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has given petroleum products marketers in Imo State 24 hours to commence full dispensing of petroleum products allocated to the state by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to the public.
NANS said it would begin dispensing the products free of charge to customers if the marketers failed to resume operations after the expiration of the ultimatum.
The ultimatum is contained in a statement issued by the National President, Asefon Sunday Dayo and NANS Senate President, Chuks Okafor and read by their Public Relations Officers, Victor Ezenagu after their meeting at the NUJ Conference Centre in Owerri on Tuesday.
The students condemned the artificial and unwarranted scarcity of petroleum products created by “the criminal activities of IPMA (Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria) members in Imo State”.
The association said it has observed with dismay how members of IPMAN have withdrawn the services of dispensing Federal Government subsidized PMS and allied products under the pretext of agitations and making unfounded dubious demands.
They expressed worry that the oil marketers, in an effort to rip-off the people of Imo State, open at night to sell their products at an exorbitant price of between N350 and N400 per litre, positing that the intention was to make life unbearable for Imo people and by extension Nigerians while selfishly profiting from the suffering and blood of Imo citizens.”
They said that this singular act exhibited by IPMAN members has given rise to an astronomical hike in the cost of goods and services in Imo State with the consequences of making life more difficult for already impoverished Imo people.
The students insisted that this is not only a criminal act but also economic sabotage which must be resisted.
NANS said that they have received complaints of frustration from their members as a result of this wickedness given that students now pay from Owerri urban to their schools as much as N700 to N900 per trip.
They said their members were the worst hit, warning that students in Imo State can no longer go to school because over 80% of them are leaving off campus as a result of inadequate hostels on the campuses.
According to the statement issued; “Therefore we feel challenged and cannot fold our arms and watch our people suffer while some elements hiding under the umbrella of IPMAN with the supervision of DPR to continue to criminally enrich themselves to the detriment of unsuspecting Imo people, especially the students”.
NASNS revealed they have consulted with all affected groups and stakeholders in the state and have resolved to lead a struggle to ensure that the petroleum products are made available and distributed as contained in the license issued to Petroleum dealers in Imo State in particular and Nigeria in general.
While giving the marketers a 24-hour ultimatum, the students warned them to do the needful or have themselves to blame.