Williams Anuku, Abuja Correspondent
As the yuletide fast approaches the federal government has assured Nigerians of a hitch free celebration.
At a meeting to review its level of preparedness to contain challenges that comes with the season, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mele Kolo Kyari assured that there was enough supply of petroleum products to take care of the needs of Nigerians throughout the festive season.
The meeting was presided over by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, at the Presidential Villa Abuja on Monday morning.
The NNPC Boss while giving the assurance, said, “We are here today to take stock of our readiness for the festive period, particularly in terms of supplies and distribution of petroleum products across the country, so that this festive period will be enjoyed by Nigerians without any hitch, particularly the Christmas and new year.
“We are very sure today that we have very robust supply plan not just for Christmas but beyond. We are assuring Nigerians that the NNPC has made adequate arrangement to make adequate supply of petroleum products. If there are any issue, we have come together with other agencies of government to ensure those issues are resolved to ensure Nigerians have a very Merry Christmas this year”.
The meeting which had in attendance the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, saw him giving assurance that a palliative deal has been struck with some contractors to put the roads in a manageable state ahead of the yuletide.
He said, “the Ministry of Works and Housing has a supporting role to play here, while construction work is going on on some of the routes used for moving cargo, we have met with our contractors and directed them to provide some palliative measures to ease the movement of trucks and tankers. Some of these routes include Benin-Auchi-Okene, Warri-Sapele-Benin, Ilorin-Jaba road, Calabar-Itu road and other roads.
“This is essentially to say we are giving everybody the support we can to ease the problem of moving fuel during the period”.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu, also pledged to ensure safety of lives during the festivities.
He had this to say, “December is a festive period, a period where Nigerians in diaspora will be coming to their homeland with their families, it is expected that every Nigerian is provided with adequate security of his life and property. For that reason, we have heightened the level of security within this period, not only the police but other security agencies are working together to ensure that the Christmas and even the new year is celebrated without any criminal incidents.
“At the same time Nigerians will have to move about freely with the availability of petroleum. And for that reason the NNPC and the petroleum transport owners association, NUPENG and others have come together to work with us to make sure that products are moved freely to cover the whole country without any bridge. In that area, we have again increased the level of security, dedicated some officers to make sure that products are moved freely without any attempt to divert products from where they are suppose to go.
“We have gotten commitment also from tanker drivers that we will work seriously with their drivers to make sure that nobody incites them or motivates them to divert products from where it is suppose to go.
So we are assuring Nigerians that the Christmas will will be crime free, petroleum products will be available to everybody and it will move from one part of the country to the other”.
Representative of the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Tariworio Dick, Chief of Training and Operations, Naval headquarters said the Navy would corroborate all the efforts being put together by the government stakeholders.
“For the Navy we have been involved in providing security in the Atlas Cove mostly pipeline. We will ensure that all hands are on deck to ensure that there are no infringement on the pipeline. For clearance of vessels we in close collaboration with NNPC so that the vessels are cleared as soon as they come in to discharge. Actually we are going to prioritize, provide arms guard to move from Lagos to Port Harcourt and Calabar as we get the request from NNPC,”he stated.
Representative of the Chief of Army Staff, Major General F. O. Omoiqui, Director of Operations, Nigeria Army, said, “For the Nigerian Army, as always we are ready to support the Nigerian police, the NNPC and the Civil Defence in ensuring that the petroleum products are freely supplied to all parts of the country this Yuletide season”.
Representative of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Comptroller General, Deputy Commandant General Operations, Hillary Kelechi Madu, noted that apart from their core mandate of protecting critical national assets and infrastructure, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in synergy with our big brothers and other security agencies, will ensure our staff shun corruption on the road to ensure that fuel supply gets to their destination.
“There shouldn’t be any collaboration with thieves and this festive period will be one of the best as critical national assets including protection of pipelines and ensuring that illegal products are not ferried across the country will be maintained by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)”.
On his part, Kassim Ibrahim Bataiya, National President of Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) said as a critical stakeholder in the supply and distribution value chain, is committed to support NNPC and the government in ensuring availability of petroleum products from now till the end of next year.
“We are committed and we have all our trucks available and ready for lifting petroleum products from now till the end of next year, most especially now that we have the assurance of the GMD that there is available products in all the depots, from the IGP that our roads will be secured and the environment conducive for us to operate. So we are committed to supporting the government and Isha Allah there will be no scarcity of petroleum this year,”he stated.
The National Chairman of Petroleum Tanker Drivers branch of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers [NUPENG], Akanni Oladiti said, “I want Nigerians to be rest assured that during this coming holiday and beyond, so far as the main operator of the industry, the NNPC has assured that products will be available and will continue to be available, we will take the products to all the four corners of Nigeria. There will not be scarcity or whatever. We want Nigeria to be good and we pray for the leadership of this country that God will will them good health and prosperity”