Oil marketers on Sunday in Lagos gave the federal government seven-day ultimatum to settle outstanding debts totalling N800 billion, failing which depots would cease operations across the country.
Although the state firm, NNPC, is currently the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria, it relies on the depots of the oil marketers to store and transfer petrol. Any closure of the depots by the marketers could thus lead to a fresh round of fuel scarcity similar to that witnessed in December last year.
The marketers, comprising Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) and Independent Petroleum Products Importers (IPPIs), said failure to meet the deadline would also force its members to disengage workers from depots.
Confirming the seven-day notice, Patrick Etim, Legal Adviser to IPPI told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that banks have taken over investments and assets of oil marketers over unpaid debts.
According to Mr Etim, marketers have no choice than to ask their workers to stay at home over unpaid salary arrears due to huge subsidy debts owed by the government.