The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria at the Enugu Depot has suspended its one-day strike in Anambra.
IPMAN had directed members to close their outlets across the state on Wednesday to protest the demolition of a member’s filling stations by the Anambra government over alleged wrong site of the outlets.
The association argued that the property in question was properly registered and approved by the authorities, adding that the owner ought to be adequately compensated.
Chief Ikechukwu Nwankwo, the Chairman of IPMAN at the Enugu Depot, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Thursday that the strike was called off after a meeting with the state government.
Nwankwo said that the parties had fruitful deliberation and expressed the hope that government would keep to the terms of agreement reached.
He said: “We have called off the strike and directed our members to open for business.
“We had an understanding and we hope the state government will respect the understanding we reached with them.
“We don’t want to be seen as frustrating the administration, they asked for some time and we obliged them.”
Nwankwo said the strike was avoidable if the state government had listened to the association earlier and apologised to the public for the inconveniences caused.
He said: “We appeal to the general public to bear with us; we respect them and we are sorry for the inconveniences caused.
“On our part, it is not easy closing shop for a whole day, it is a pity it came to that level.”
Obi Nwankwo, the Commissioner for Public Utilities and Domestic Water Development, said that the state government agreed to address the contentious issues within three weeks.
He said: “Both sides (government and IPMAN) have agreed that within three weeks of this agreement, they will form a joint committee to discuss in details the issue of compensation and relocation of the two filling stations which was the cause of the strike.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Petroleum Resources has faulted the unilateral demolition of filling stations without recourse to the agency.
Ahmed Gwaram, Head of Operations, Enugu office of DPR in charge of Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu States, said while state governments could revoke land certificates, it could not effect demolition.
Gwaram said that regulation of petroleum business operations was the sole duty of the DPR, adding that state government must work with the agency if there was cause to intervene.
He said: “State governments through the town planning authority can make available land for petrol station.
“If the same authority under the same government approves other buildings around the filling stations, who do you blame?
“State governments can revoke land approvals but it is not supposed to take any action of demolition.
“They would have to come to us because we are the only people empowered by the law to approve or remove petrol stations.”
Gwaram expressed regrets at the crisis which led to the one-day product scarcity in Anambra.