On Monday, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) threatened to halt petroleum supply and distribution within its designated Eastern zone.
IPMAN issued a strike notice on Saturday, which was contained in a circular signed by the association’s National President, Alhaji Sanusi Fari, and comes amid allegations of police harassment of its members.
According to Daily Post, IPMAN supplies products to Aba, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Calabar, and Makurdi depots in its allocated Eastern zone.
“Following a series of unjustified police attacks on IPMAN, the Eastern Zone, including the National Executive Committee of IPMAN, resolved that members withdraw their services at these units/depots immediately till further notice,” the statement read.
“The East Zonal Chairman should please forward (the notice) to the IPMAN chairman in Aba, Calabar, Enugu, Makurdi, and PH Depots/Units for compliance.”
IPMAN claimed the notice was also in protest of the Nigeria Police Force forcibly evicting a lawfully elected executive from the Port Harcourt depot on Friday to make room for a group unknown to the association’s members.
“On Friday, a group loyal to a parallel faction that lost in court was led to forcibly take over the IPMAN office at the Port Harcourt depot,” the statement continued.
“Dr. Joseph Obele, the depot’s lawfully elected chairman, was elected in October 2019 after an election in which these people took part.
“Since his term is set to expire in 2022, they should give him the opportunity to complete it.
“We are taking this opportunity to appeal to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, to intervene and persuade his troops to grant IPMAN’s legal leadership access to their offices at the Port Harcourt depot.
“In IPMAN, we will not allow impunity to reign.
“As a result, we’ve decided to cease operations in the Eastern zone indefinitely until legality is restored.”
SP Nnamdi Omoni, the Police Public Relations Officer for the Rivers State Command, responded by saying that the police were acting following a directive based on a Supreme Court order.
Friday Eboka, the state’s Commissioner of Police, invited both parties and read the decision to them, as well as the command that the judgment’s beneficiaries be permitted to enjoy the ruling, according to Omoni.
“The CP invited both parties, and the order was given to them, therefore it was enforced,” he explained.