A group of oil marketers in Lagos has protested against the alleged inhumane treatment against them by three oil firms.
The marketers alleged that Techno, Kanthorn and Florence oil firms swindled them of N400 million and were using the Police to intimidate them.
The aggrieved marketers, who staged a protest at the weekend at the premises of Techno Oil tank farm in Kirikiri, Apapa, alleged that they paid N400 million through Florence Petroleum and Kanthorn Oil to Techno Oil for the delivery of over 1,000 liters of petroleum products, of which they failed to fulfill their part of the deal.
The victims have, therefore, called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission to intervene and come to their rescue.
The marketers have also called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to caution his men who they alleged were being used by the accused to pervert justice.
Speaking with journalists at the site of Techno Farm tank, one of the marketers, Monsurat Adenike, said they confirmed with Techno Oil whether Kanthorn and Florence oil were capable of supplying them the 1000 litres of products before they made payment for the products sometimes around July, 2019 and Techno gave them the go ahead.
According to Adenike: “We paid to some marketers that bring products to Techno and Index around early July last month and the market was brought to Techno Tank Farm.
“We initially asked them if they have the product and they affirmed, but after we were given the first batch of products, they refused to deliver the second batch we paid for.
“We made a report to Techno Oil, but the management is dribbling us; instead of helping us, the management said the matter is in the hands of the Inspector-General of Police in Abuja.
“Techno has the wherewithal to help us retrieve the money which we paid on their advice.
“We are calling on Nigerians to come to our aid because they want to dupe us.
“It is true that we paid to Florence Petroleum Limited.
“The firm is the one selling to Kanthorn Oil.
“And after the first delivery, we have been hearing different excuses from them.
“Initially they told us that they didn’t pay for cooler and the next thing they told us is that they are doing reconciliation and afterward, they told us that Florence Petroleum has over-carried products and there is no way products can be overloaded in the depot.
“It’s surprising that Florence can overload products because it is Kanthorn that usually signs out.
“We have been buying from Techno through Florence Petroleum but we don’t know what happened this time around.
“We have lost so much on this transaction.
“We have equally spent over N20 million to get back what rightly belongs to us.
“Yet they resisted our access and almost crushed us with their truck.
“For instance, I have been arrested several times over this matter.
“Techno claimed we are disturbing its depot.
“Yet it borrowed Florence Petroleum and Kanthorn Oil’s Tank Farm and that is why we got ourselves involved with them.
“The problem is that the people that lent the money for the business arrested me and took me to Area B in Apapa and the Police asked me to take them to where the Tank Farm is.
“I brought them to Techno Oil and one of the Techno managers was also arrested.
“We were all released later but the Area B Commander told Techno Oil managers not to touch the product and they assured the Commander that the product they have was more than one million litres, but they later told us that because the product has entered into demurrage, they could only load 500 liters for us.
“We are crying out to Nigerians for help.
“We do not want to rely on the Police again because they didn’t do much to help us.
“Rather, they were telling us the IGP has sent a letter regarding the matter but we were not shown any letter.
“We are no longer interested in taking the products from Techno Oil.
“We want a refund of our money.
“They should refund our N400 million.
“We have the evidence of all our payments.
In its reaction, Kanthorn Oil, which spoke through a legal practitioner, Adedayo Oshodi, denied the allegation of being involved in the matter.
The lawyer said: “It is the truth that we know Florence Oil.
“We have been doing business with the company.
“We have the product and Florence is like an agent who brings customers to us.
“We give our products through agents.
“Yes, Florence collected money for loading and we loaded for Florence, but it refused to give the product to the people that paid to them.
“We did not know all these until the marketers started complaining.
“There was no way we would have known what transpired because we gave out products through the agents that brought them.
“We loaded the product they paid for so we don’t know why they refused to deliver the products to the protesters.
“When we discovered the fraud, we quickly petitioned the Zone 2 Police Command.
“We appealed to the police to help us arrest Florence so that the management will pay back the money to the owners.
“Kharntorn is a responsible organization that will not support evil.
“Our hands are clean.
“Let the aggrieved persons not channel their attack on us.
“Even Techno has denied us access to our products.
“We can’t load our products, but when we are ready, we will take Techno to court.
“I want to sympathise with the protesters, but they should channel their complaints to the right and appropriate quarters.
However, the management of Techno Oil, which spoke through Bob Onyeama and Folarin Odufuwa, denied the allegations made by the oil marketers.
The duo said the allegations levelled against their company is false because Techno Oil does not have any direct dealings with the said marketers.
Thet said: “They should show the evidence that they paid to Techno Oil and there is no way we can prevail in the matter because we didn’t receive money from them.
“They should rather go and meet the people they paid to.
“The marketers only came to do troop-put with our company, so we expect them to go and clarify things with Kanthorn and Florence Petroleum and stop tarnishing our images.”