Commuters may soon bear the brunt of power tussle in Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) which is threatening to suspend distribution of products within the Eastern zone from Monday to protest alleged harassment of its members by the police.
Already, IPMAN has issued a strike notice which was contained in a circular signed by the national president of a faction, Alhaji Sanusi Fari.
The circular which was made available to journalists in Awka Saturday by the secretary Mr Chidi Nnubia, said IPMAN will withdraw services including dispatch of petroleum products in the Eastern Zone comprising Aba, Calabar, Enugu, Makurdi and Port Harcourt Depots.
Part of the circular read: “Following the series of unwarranted attacks by Police against IPMAN, Eastern Zone comprising the NEC of IPMAN resolved that members withdraw their services at these units/depots immediately until further notice.
“The Zonal Chairman, East should kindly forward to chairmen, IPMAN, Aba, Calabar, Enugu, Makurdi and PH Depots/Units for compliance”.
Nnubia told journalists that the action was to protest the forceful eviction of a duly elected executive at the Port Harcourt depot by the police to pave way for a group not known to them on Friday.
He said that the Fari led national executive had a Court order which authenticated its leadership and wondered why the Police would allow any group of persons to truncate a legitimate exco without due process.
He said: “On Friday, a group loyal to a parallel faction which lost out in the court was led to forcefully take over the IPMAN office at the Port Harcourt depot.
“Dr Joseph Obele, the lawfully elected chairman of the depot was elected in Oct 2019 in an election which these people participated in, his tenure will expire in 2022, so they should allow him to finish his tenure.
“We are using this opportunity to call on the Inspector General of Police to intervene and prevail on his men so that they can allow the leadership of IPMAN recognised by law to have access to their office in Port Harcourt depot.
“We will not allow the reign of impunity in IPMAN, so we have resolved to withdraw our services in the Eastern zone indefinitely until legality is restored,” he said.
However, Police spokesman in Rivers State SP Nnamdi Omoni, a Superintendent of Police said the Police acted in compliance with a directive based on a Supreme Court order.
Omoni said both parties were invited by the Commissioner of Police who read the judgement to them and the directive that the beneficiaries of the judgement should be allowed to enjoy the order.