By Our Reporter
Independent petroleum product marketers in Imo State have opened their filling stations to customers again after a one-day strike which took residents unawares and paralysed businesses on Monday.
This followed the immediate intervention of the Imo Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere who met with the marketers at his lodge in the Government House, Owerri.
The marketers were protesting alleged harassment by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) over the new pump price and had proposed the warning strike to last for three days.
They, however, shifted grounds after the meeting with the Deputy Governor but insisted on some minor adjustments in the price to allow them to remain in business.
Deputy Gov. Madumere had appealed to them to call off the strike so that mischievous elements do not capitalize on it to cause confusion.
Speaking further to the two bodies, Madumere, observed that the problem was due to communication gap between the Independent Marketers and the Department of Petroleum Resources, saying there is need for a strategic communication engagements.
The Chairman of the marketers association, Mr. Christopher Amadi, who announced the immediate suspension of the strike, however said that it will be impossible to resort to the new pump price of N87 per litre but assured that the adjustment will be reasonable.
He complained of the cost of purchasing the petroleum products from private depots.
According to him, the marketers embarked on the 3-day strike to protest the mounting intimidation and extortion by the DPR and other government agencies under the guise of enforcing the new pump price.
Earlier in a communiqué issued at the end of a meeting of the Executive members of the group, the marketers accused the DPR and other government agencies of fleecing the marketers through imposition of illegal fines.
They explained that “currently the marketers are buying the PMS from private depots in Port Harcourt and Calabar at above N90.00 per litre and are forced to sell for N87.00 per litre as approved by government”.
The communiqué added further that “the DPR and other relevant Agencies instead of improving the supply go to petrol stations harassing and imposing huge fines ranging from N100, 000.00 on the marketers and locking up the petrol stations”.
They appealed to the government to make the products available to enable the independent marketers sell at the federal government approved price, adding that “as people who do business with their money we cannot trade to lose”.
The marketers commended the Imo Deputy Governor for his timely intervention through his Chairman, Chief Amadi, and directed for immediate reopening of all the petrol stations sealed over the compliance of the new pump price, appealing with the “DPR to take the enforcement to the private depots who sell to the marketers at above the approved price”.
At present, petrol is sold at N100 – N110 per litre in the state.