IPMAN Protest Against Police Commissioner, PTD In Rivers

IPMAN Protest Against Police Commissioner, PTD In Rivers

By Abdulateef Bamgbose

Members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) over the weekend, staged a protest against the Rivers state Commissioner of Police, Mr Eboka Friday and the Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD), over alleged disobedience to the Supreme Court judgement and directives of Inspector General of Police illegal activities of the tanker drivers.

The IPMAN members who protested through some major roads in Port Harcourt, the state capital, before arriving at the Rivers State Government House, where they handed over a protest letter to the Chief Security Officer for onward transmission to Governor Nyesom Wike.

The protesters alleged that a 2018 judgement of the apex Court had amongst other things, granted powers to the association to collect levies from petroleum tankers loading from refineries and tanks farms in the country.

They further alleged that instead of the association to collect the levy as enshrined in the court judgement, leadership of the Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) were the ones illegally collecting the levies.

The protesters in their different placards, ‘ CP Stop Supporting PTD’, ‘CP, Obey IGP Signal’, ‘PTD, Stop Collecting IPMAn Levy’, ‘PTD, Stop Sabotaging Rivers State Government’, said the one week petroleum products scarcity as a result of their strike action was because they the PTD were allegedly running away from paying the mandated levies.

Secretary of IPMAN, Port Harcourt Depot Unit, Ozor Ejike, who spoke during the protest at the Government House, accused the CP of refusing to obey a signal from the Inspector -General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, which allegedly directed him to recognize only the leadership Uchenna Okoronkwo.

Ejike said: “It is no news that IPMAN has been bedeviled with protracted to that ended up with litigations from the Court of first instance to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in Abuja between Chief Lawson Obasi and Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo.

“After the tussle, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, our national president emerged judgement creditor in all hierarchy of the Court with Chief Lawson Obasi being a gracious loser.

“After the power tussle, our national president, elder Okoronkwo emerged victoriously in the court judgement. From 2014 to 2018 IPMAN have bedeviled by fight after fight, litigation after litigation. Is it to say that there is no more law in this country.

“That is why we have decided to seek all legal means so we appear proper before the government and security agencies to say enforce our our president have not been allowed by Lawson Obasi to enjoy his right and privileges as enshrined in our constitution of 2009 as amended, which includes trip levy collection”.

Ejike further stated that fir years anytime they tried to collect the trip levies from the PTD, government and security agencies interferes and stopped them from their legal right, adding that the recent scarcity of petroleum products in Port Harcourt and its environs was masterminded by the tanker drivers because they were they IPMAN would be coming for the levies.

“The other time we tried to collect the levy Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) shutdown, they will say they have gone on strike and the funny thing is that they have been collecting this same money for years and the criminal part of it is that they refused to issue receipt.

“How can PTD a union begin to collect IPMAN levy, their chairman is Johnbosco Aha. We have tried to seek peaceful means of addressing this matter.

“Some time last week after fulfilling all due righteousness we had a signal from the IG of Police to the state Commissioner of Police after two letters from the Attorney General of Federation, Ministry of Justice, Abubakar Mallami, with this signal we had a meeting with the CP and even before then the Commissioner of Police have been playing us and we begin to ask what is his interest in the matter.

“We wrote a letter and sent to them that we were coming to collect our levy and when we came PTD went on strike. When they were asked the reason for their action, they started making demands for the illegal bunkering trucks that were seized by the military and security agencies, some as far back as two years ago, knowing full well that is not the reason for their strike action because Port Harcourt needs to know the truth.

“Our demand is that we must exercise our right and privileges of our office as enshrined in our constitution by virtue of the judgement of the Supreme court that PTD is not IPMAN, the Police should remain non partisan, they should not be arresting us and allow criminals to parade all in the name of maintaining peace”

The IPMAN scribe also explained that there is no faction in the group.

He said “The matter has been settled by the Supreme court on December 14, 2018, any other person claiming to be a President is an imposter. We need to collect our IPMAN trip levy and sanitize the system and have accountability.

“I want to repeat again, PTD did not go on strike because they arrested their trucks those ones were bunkering trucks and in line with the Rivers state abs federal government in executing the law of the economy sabotage they should not be released.

“Once the military arrested illegal trucks carrying illegal products why should the law not take it course, why do you want to blackmail the government with strike action that is not in existent, there is no scarcity, product is everywhere”.


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