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Senate investigates importation of hazardous petroleum products

Senate throws out bill to establish road transport council

…Asks Bamidele to unravel masterminds of illicit practice

The Senate, Wednesday, constituted an ad-hoc committee to investigate the continued importation of hazardous petroleum products and dumping of substandard diesel into the country.

The upper legislative chamber also appointed Leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele to lead 14 other distinguished senators to unravel masterminds behind the illicit practice and transaction.

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio set up the ad-hoc committee at the plenary after Chairman, Senate Committee on NDDC, Asuquo Ekpenyong moved a motion on the urgent need to probe the continued importation of hazardous petroleum products.

Reports had revealed that 12 diesel cargoes conveying a total of 660 kilotons of diesel, were exported by refineries to offshore Lomé, Togo for further distribution to West African markets, mainly Nigeria.

At the plenary, Akpabio lamented the danger of hazardous petroleum products, pointing out the need for the Senate to immediately investigate and unravel those behind the hazardous practice.

Consequently, the Senate President appointed Bamidele to chair the 15-man committee; investigate the masterminds and submit its report within three weeks.

Concerned about the reports, Ekpenyong observed the quality of the said diesel was below the Nigerian standard in terms of flash and Sulphur levels

He explained that the diesel “is priced below fair market value, which constitutes dumping on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, which stipulates that countries are permitted to take measures to protect their local industries in the event of dumping.

“The WTO also recognises the impact of dumping on domestic industries, and therefore stipulates tariff regimes, such as anti-dumping duties and import restrictions l measures to ensure that domestic producers are unfairly disadvantaged.”

He disclosed that even though the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) recently revised the standards of diesel importation into Nigeria in line with the Petroleum Industry Act, 2021, it had been incapable of enforcing compliance with the standards.

He further explained that the ban on importation of diesel would be beneficial to the Nigerian Petroleum Industry and indeed the entire nation and as such, NMDPRA should cease import licenses in order to address all concerns.

He however, said if the situation is allowed to continue, the local production would have no option than to stop the commissioning of gasoline units and shutdown refineries until the regulatory environment improves.

The Senate then set up an ad-hoc committee, to launch an investigation into the continued importation of hazardous petroleum products, and dumping of substandard diesel into Nigeria.

Chaired by Bamidele, other members of the ad-hoc committee include Senator Adams Oshiomhole (Edo North), Senator Abdul Ningi (Bauchi Central), Senator Osita Izunazo (Imo West), Senator Ifeanyi Uba (Anambra South, Senator Diket Plang (Plateau Central), Senator Mohammed Monguno (Borno North), Senator Abdullah Yahaha (Kebbi North), Senator Olamilekan Solomon (Ogun West), Senator Khabeeb Mustapha (Jigawa South-west), Senator Shahabi Ya’u (Zamfara North) and Senator Tokunbo Abiru (Lagos East).