October 6, 2022

IPMAN allege Police harassments, to shut down oil depots in S’south, S’east

Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN) has said they will shut down all petroleum depots in Cross River, Akwa Ibom States and other Southeast states over incessant harassment of members by policemen.

Chairman of the Association in Cross River State, Robert Obi spoke to journalists and said they will shut down operations in Calabar, Port Harcourt, Enugu depots and petrol stations.

The South East zone of IPMAN comprises Enugu, Aba, Rivers, Cross River and Benue States with over 40 depots and 1, 000 petrol stations as well as 2,000 members.

Obi alleged that they have further received threats from Police Legal Force headquarters, Abuja, to foist factional leadership on the association and also arrest its executives across the zone.

He disclosed that they have met several times over the increasing threats from the police and resolved to close all the stations.

He cautioned that if the Police went ahead to effect their threat, it would trigger a crisis in the association even though there are various court pronouncements which ended the leadership tussles.

It would be recalled that power tussles between Chiefs Obasi Lawson and Elfer Chinedu Okoronkwo all from Abia State, have torn the Association apart.

These have resulted in several litigations, culminating in the Supreme Court judgment in Suit No SC/15/2018 delivered on December 14, 2018, and its subsequent interpretation by Federal High Court Calabar dated June 19, 2019.

But trouble seems to be brewing again in IPMAN following a new twist to the interpretation of the Supreme Court judgment by the new Police Commissioner, Legal Force headquarters, Abuja, DCP Ochogwu Ogbeh, W.A, who had in a letter dated May 13, 2022, advised the Inspector-General of Police to recognise the Chinedu Okoronkwo-led faction of IPMAN and subsequently accord them necessary attention at the national headquarters and in the affected states.

Reacting to DCP Ochogwu Ogbeh’s interpretation of the Supreme Court and Appeal Court’s judgment and advice in an interview in Calabar, the Cross River State Chairman of IPMAN, Robert Asue Obi, described the Police action as an invitation to anarchy.

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