The National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, has warned Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), a branch of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), against conniving with petroleum products smugglers, noting that anyone caught doing so would face the consequences.
The body urged the National Assembly to not scrap the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), warning that this would worsen fuel distribution crisis across the country.
In his address at the PTD Branch Executive Council meeting, NARTO President, Alhaji Kassim Bataiya, insisted that the role of PEF in fuel distribution was vital.
Bataiya said: ?We cannot overemphasise the important and invaluable contribution of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund to the availability and accessibility of Petroleum products at the government approved prices to every citizen wherever they are residing.
?In fact, it would have been extremely difficult, if not practically impossible, for citizens in far Northwest, Northeast and some interior places in the Southwest, east and even Southsouth to have access to petroleum products and buy it at the approved prices, if Petroleum Equalisation Fund had not been in existence.?
?So, we want to use this opportunity to say it will be rather unfortunate if the statement is true, considering the pivotal roles of PEF in the effective and efficient distribution of petroleum products in the country. We earnestly urge Senator Marafa and members of the National Assembly to rethink this matter to avoid worsening and compounding fuel distribution crisis in the country.?
Bataiya also called on drivers not to allow themselves to be used by smugglers of petroleum products.