The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) on Saturday threatened to suspend the supply and distribution of products within its designated Eastern zone effective Monday.
IPMAN’s strike notice, which is contained in a circular signed by the association’s national president, Alhaji Sanusi Fari, is coming against the backdrop of alleged harassment of its members by the police.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that depots to which IPMAN supplies products in its designated Eastern zone include Aba, Calabar, Enugu, Makurdi, and Port Harcourt.
“Following the series of unwarranted attacks by the police against IPMAN, Eastern Zone comprising the National Executive Committee of IPMAN resolved that members withdraw their services at these units/depots immediately until further notice.
“The Zonal Chairman, East, should kindly forward (the notice) to chairmen, IPMAN, Aba, Calabar, Enugu, Makurdi and PH Depots/Units for compliance,” it stated.
IPMAN explained that the notice was to also protest the forceful eviction of a duly elected executive at the Port Harcourt depot by the police to pave way for a group not known to members of the association on Friday.
It said the Fari-led national executive had obtained a court order which legitimised its leadership and wondered why the Police would allow any group of persons to truncate a legitimate exco without due process.
“On Friday, a group loyal to a parallel faction which lost out in the court was led to forcefully take over the IPMAN office at the Port Harcourt depot.
“Dr Joseph Obele, the lawfully elected chairman of the depot was elected in October 2019 following an election which these people participated in,.
“His tenure will expire in 2022; so they should allow him to finish his tenure.
“We are using this opportunity to call on the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba to intervene and prevail on his men so that they can allow the leadership of IPMAN recognised by law to have access to their offices at the Port Harcourt depot.
“We will not allow the reign of impunity in IPMAN.
“So we have resolved to withdraw our services in the Eastern zone indefinitely until legality is restored,” he said.
In a reaction, SP Nnamdi Omoni, Police Public Relations Officer, Rivers State Command, explained that the action of the police was in compliance with a directive based on a Supreme Court order.
Omoni said both parties were invited by the state’s Commissioner of Police, Friday Eboka, who read the judgement to them and the directive that the beneficiaries of the judgement should be allowed to enjoy the order.
“Both parties were invited by the CP and the order was read to them, so based on that it was enforced,” he said.