The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), late Tuesday, shut down its operation in Calabar depot over what they described as incessant harassment of its members by the Police.
IPMAN chairman in Cross River, Mr. Robert Obi, who spoke on behalf of the petroleum marketers, said his members were withdrawing all the services in the area of lifting and distribution of petroleum product to members of the public.
Obi said the action would continue until security operatives learn to treat IPMAN members with courtesy, noting, “The duration of the strike is uncertain as it emanates from the national president of the association.”
Also, IPMAN national president, Alhaji (Engr.) Sanusi Fari, in a solidarity message, said marketers in the Southeast and South south were constantly being harassed by the police and that the only way to check the impunity was to down tools.
“The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Eastern zone wish to state with dismay, the incessant attack by men of Nigeria police force at our secretariats in Port Harcourt, Aba, Calabar, Enugu and Makurdi depots.
“Sequel to this ugly development, the NEC of IPMAN has resolved and directed that we should withdraw our services immediately from all loading depots and if police continue to attack our Secretariats, we will be compelled to withdraw our services from the public,” the letter, which was sighted by Blueprint reporter, read in part.
As at the time of filling this report, long queues of petroleum tankers waiting outside the NNPC depot was observed without any operation going on while commuters were rushing to available petrol stations to buy fuel in what could be described as panic buying.
However, the spokesman for the State Police command, Irene Igbo, when contacted on the alleged harrasment of IPMAN members, said her office was not aware of such allegation.
She said, “I do not think that there is any harassment of IPMAN members by our men, at least, we have a good working relationship with IPMAN, if they feel that their members have been facing any form of intimidation, by our men, its left for them to come and lay complaints to the command.”