By Ovie Okpare
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) says there was nothing wrong with the Warri Refining Petroleum Chemical Company (WRPC) also known as Warri Refinery in Ekpan, Delta State, before it was allegedly shutdown by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
IPMAN alleged that top management of NNPC and beneficiaries of importation subsidies were playing politics with the running and reopening of the nation’s refineries.
Delta State (Warri Depot) chairman of IPMAN, Mr Azino Onaemor, disclosed this during a pressing briefing with journalists in Warri on Monday.
He called for the immediate opening of the refinery for production especially now that the outbreak of Coronavirus also known as COVID19 is hampering crude oil sale across the world.
Onaemor observed that deep politics was responsible for redundant state of the refineries, adding that the current state of the nation’s refineries especially Warri Refinery are being exaggerated by officials of WRPC and NNPC.
According to him, “The Warri Refinery has been down for one year, eight months. It’s sad that the federal government is doing nothing about it. Many persons are not aware because they see fuel around. The refinery is not that bad as the NNPC claimed to be.
“The Warri Refinery was working but it was shut down because the casual workers were not being paid, and not because the refinery was bad. But after they resolved with the casual workers, they refused to put on the plants for reasons we do not know.
“I personally went to WRPC, they told me that they were told not to on the refinery because they want to do an integrity test. I asked them, why will you shut down a whole refinery because of integrity test? What is integrity test? Integrity test is for officials to check if the equipment are okay or not. They said is an order from above, and they shouldn’t turn on the plant.”
He lamented that the shutting down of plants at the refinery was taking a toll on the economy of residents of Warri and the people of Delta State.
Onaemor called on President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into the situation and quickly order the reopening of the Warri refinery.
According to him, some officials of NNPC were working to frustrate the running of the nation’s refineries in an attempt to monopolies the refining of petroleum products in favour of certain powerful individual in the country.
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He noted that those who ought to brief President Buhari on the true state of the nation’s refineries particularly Warri refineries to “tell Mr President what is not true about Warri refinery. Nothing is wrong with Warri plants. Warri and Port Harcourt refineries have the capacity to refine our local needs.”
The Warri IPMAN boss stated further that beneficiaries of subsidies from importation of petroleum products are hell bent on ensuring that importation of refined products continued even when the nation’s refineries are in good order to refine Nigeria’s local needs.
“Don’t let anyone deceive you, it is far cheaper to locally refined petroleum products in Nigeria than to continue to import products. It’s clear that some beneficiaries of fuel subsidies want to continue to reap the country of our resources”, he added.