Indeed, the association noted that threatening to shut down their operations, which play a very pivotal part in petroleum distribution in Nigeria, accounting for 35% national petroleum product distribution is counter-productive.
The operators added that contrary to the State Government’s position, its members are duly licensed and authorized by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to operate Petroleum Storage Facilities (Tankfarms) at Ijegun and have all requisite Permits, Licenses from all appropriate Agencies of government to construct, own and operate Tankfarms, as well as engage in oil marketing and petroleum product distribution operations.
The association, in a statement signed by the Secretary, Eshiet Eshiet and made available to The Guardian, stated that any shutdown or closure of tank farms will result in national economic crisis, energy insecurity, massive unemployment, banking and financial crisis and the shock in the banking sector will adversely affect other business and commercial activities.
“Our attention has been drawn to the statement by the Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning, Hon Idris Salako at the Stakeholders Meeting on Friday 20th September 2020 regarding the operations of Tankfarms in Lagos State, especially to the effect that our members are operating illegally in Lagos State, that our members do not pay any taxes, charges or fees to the Lagos State Government and that our members have, by their operations have destroyed infrastructural facilities within their operational areas.
“The Commissioner also threatened to immediately shut down Tank farms. These statements have, to say the least, painted the operators of Tankfarms in a very bad light, hence the need to make some clarifications in respect of our member’s operations.
“Our member companies have their facilities mostly on the shoreline of the Ojo Creek Channel, with a considerable distance to community houses and were granted title by the Land registry, Federal Ministry of Lands and Housing to use same for industrial and/or commercial purposes.
The cluster our members occupy was a wetland, of which rigorous sand filling and shoreline protection were undertaken at great cost, thereafter pilling in line with best practices to sustain the structures thereon.
“Regarding the regularization of our members’ drawings with the Lagos State Government, let it be on record that in 2014, our members through the Association applied for regularization.
The government, at the time, was not keen at regularizing same.
Recently, when the Government asked our members to submit documentations for regularization, all our members complied. But to our greatest shock, each company was arbitrarily charged approximately N300 million. With the present global economic outlook, this is outrageous and a big strain on our members”, the statement read in part.
Eshiet however expressed the association’s commitment to ensuring efficient petroleum product distribution, and by extension ensuring energy security in line with the Federal Government’s policies and regulations.
“Our member companies have contributed immensely in ensuring energy stability and energy security in the nation, and have always rose to the occasion in ensuring efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products to avoid scarcity of products”, he added.