The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has embarked on a three-day warning strike in nine northern states over unpaid N70 billion bridging claims.
Abdulkadir Mustapha, the spokesperson of IPMAN in Borno state, made this known during a press briefing on Monday in Maiduguri.
The nine states include Borno, Adamawa, Kano, Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, Gombe, Niger, and Sokoto.
Mustapha said the non-payment of the bridging claims, also known as transportation claims, by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), was adversely affecting the oil marketers.
“Hence, we have resolved at our meeting held in Kano state to withdraw our services at the depots for three days,” he said.
Mustapha said the failure of the authorities to respond appropriately by paying all unsettled claims due to the association would result in an indefinite strike and shutting down of all filling stations.
“Henceforth, all products lifted must be settled or paid for within the stipulated period of 30 days as earlier agreed. Failure to do so will lead to indefinite suspension of our services in all depots and filling stations across the northern region,” he said.
“Though some few payments had been made which is less than five percent of our claims, a greater part of the claims had not been settled. More so, no payment had been made with regard to this year’s claims, and a lot of the year 2019/2021 still remains unpaid.
“For years, we have been following and lobbying the management of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) regarding our unsettled bridging claims amounting to N70 billion to no avail.
“As a peace-loving association, we urge the authorities to settle or pay all the unsettled claims. We cannot be lifting fuel from the far south to the north without being paid. Our decision to go for the warning strike is to draw the attention of the authorities to take action that is why we didn’t shut down our outlets not to cause unnecessary hardship to the citizenry.”
Mustapha furthermore appealed to the federal government to intervene by directing NMDPRA to pay all understanding claims to avert an indefinite strike that may affect fuel distribution across the northern region.
In May, IPMAN had accused the NMDPRA of owing its members over N500 billion bridging claims.
But NMDPRA said it had paid oil marketers bridging claims worth over N58 billion within six months.
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