Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, on Monday, accused the management of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of withholding 25,000MT of aviation fuel in disregard to the directive issued by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking at a meeting with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the airline operators stated that President Buhari directed that aviation fuel should be sold to them at landing rates with a view to ameliorate the losses they incurred over the months.
The AON Vice President and Chairman, Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyema, disclosed that the Association was invited by management of Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority (NMDRA) to notify them of the President’s gesture, and the need for them to nominate trusted and established oil marketers to take delivery of the 25,000 MT and sell to them at the landing rate.
He said having nominated 10 established oil marketers to take the product, he, in the presence of his members called the NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari informing him of the President’s gesture and that their selected marketers would be in touch regarding the product, but he(Kyari) vehemently said no.
“We were invited by the Midstream and Downstream Authority and we were told that the president approved 25,000 metric tonnes for us as a palliative to help us. We were very grateful to the president. It was not free. We were happy.
“We were told to nominate marketers that would market this product for us. We were told to have a meeting with these marketers. We called all the marketers. We held a meeting with them.
“We decided the logistics, so they would take their logistical costs and everything and at the end of the day that fuel was getting to them. They told us at N335, so we put everything together and it would be getting to less than N400 for the cost and we said even if they sell to us at N450 it would be okay.
“We were told that a week later that is when the consignment would be arriving Nigeria and when this happened, the next we got to hear from the marketers was that they had already been given the consignment that we were all jostling for. So we waited thinking that they would sell as agreed. They never are.
“I actually called the MD of NNPC, in the presence of our members. We wanted to hear from him. He answered that there was no way they would leave us to get direct products that were dangerous.
“But I said no, that the marketers you are going to give are the same marketers that would handle it for us. He (Melee Kyari) said he did not want any crash or anybody adulterating it.
“I said how could they adulterate it because they are the same marketers. We are not taking it on our own. Long and short of the story is that this product was not given to us and we noticed that it continued rising and rising,” Onyema said.
Also speaking, AON President, Abdulmanaf Yunusa who doubles as Chairman of Azman Air explained that the Airline Operators begged the NNPC GMD to give the allocation approved by the President for them to the nominated marketers.
In his response, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari said there are considered safety issues involved in releasing aviation fuel directly to operators, or even marketers, saying that not everyone can handle ATK.
“Rt Hon Speaker it is more complex than they say. Somebody must handle aviation fuel. We cannot surrender the safety of Nigerians to just anyone. It is not every marketing company that can handle ATK including