Going by the recent hike in fuel and the near non availability of the product in the State, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has tasked Governor Udom Emmanuel to take decisive steps towards resolving the persistent petroleum crisis in the State. The Lawmakers also called on petroleum marketers and other actors in the petroleum sector in the state to operate within the law.
The lawmakers gave the directive yesterday in a resolution passed during plenary. This is sequel to a matter of urgent public importance brought before the House by the member representing Abak state constituency, Comrade Friday Iwok, who drew the the attention of the House to the fuel crisis which happens to hit only Akwa Ibom while neighboring states are not witnessing such an ugly development.
He described the fuel situation witnessed in Akwa Ibom State as ‘man’s inhumanity to man”.
The Abak representative prayed the House to wade into the matter to save the public from further hardship caused by the activities of shylock petroleum marketers.
Reacting, members of the House who commended the lawmaker for bringing up the matter, described the fuel crisis as an economic sabotage perpetrated by people who do not wish the state well.
Contributing to the motion, the Chief whip of the House, Mr. Emmanuel Ekpenyong, blamed petroleum tanker drivers for the fuel crisis witnessed in the State. He called on the House to descend hard on the task force on petroleum monitoring for abysmal performance.
Ibesikpo Asutan member, Elder Aniekan Uko, in his argument called on the governor to dissolve the Petroleum Product Monitoring Committee for not living up to expectation.
Member for Ukanafun , Mr. Otobong Jonathan moved the motion for the adoption of matter by the House, while his colleague from Etinan, Barr. Aniefiok Dennis seconded the motion.
Meanwhile, the SSA to the Governor on Petroleum Matters / Chairman of Petroleum Product Monitoring Committee, (PPMC) Barr. Essien Esema has said that the disagreement between Petroleum Tanker Drivers and the National Security and Civil Defence Corps has been resolved.
The strike by the tanker drivers which led to the scarcity of petroleum products, he noted has been ended and products are now sold in filling stations at government approved prices.
According to Esema, PPMC has also sent out its men to enforce government approved prices at filling stations.
He also expressed understanding at the anger by the lawmakers in AKHA, saying that because the fuel crisis in Akwa Ibom State has occurred too often people had good reasons to be annoyed.
Esema however promised that steps have been taken to finally put a stop to the crisis in the State.
Describing as unacceptable the recurrence of fuel scarcity in Akwa Ibom state, he noted that it is not good for the economy and the image of the government
Esema said that Governor Udom Emmanuel always intervened to solve the problems in the petroleum sector
“The truth is that it is the intervention of the Governor that ends the crisis quickly. In the one that just ended, the Governor had to personally call PTD to resolve the problem. I think the Governor should be commended for this’ he said
Explaining that oil and petroleum matters is on the exclusive list and purely something for the federal government to handle, Esema added that “PPMC is only an interventionist agency. We don’t own petrol or filling stations. So, when Tanker drivers and owners of petroleum fight, it is a federal government agency like the Department of Petroleum Resources that can step in immediately. We are just an interventionist agency. It is when DPR fails to solve it, that we come in. so we intervene and cooperate with DPR and NSCDC on these matters. We have never failed to work towards solving the fuel crisis in Akwa Ibom State and this is an obligation we are committed to” he promised.