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Fuel Scarcity Looms as Tanker Owners Withdraw Vehicles Today

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Tanker owners have said they will halt the transportation of petroleum products starting today, raising the fear of another fuel scarcity crisis in the country.

Fuel Scarcity Looms as Tanker Owners Withdraw Vehicles Today

Speaking under the aegis of the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), the tanker owners said this decision stems from the soaring operational costs experienced by its members, primarily due to the exorbitant price of diesel needed to fuel their trucks for product transportation nationwide.

This is as petroleum products marketers are seeking for adjustment on pump price to cushion the effect of the constant upward movement of dollar that has impacted on their operational costs.

NARTO, in a letter dated February 15th 2024, notified the secretary general of NUPENG, of its intention to withdraw the lifting of products.

In the letter signed by Yusuf Lawal Othman, NARTO’s national president, the transporters placed their grievance on the table insisting that it will down tools from today Monday February 19, 2024.

Among their grievances is failed negotiations for appropriate and commensurate freight rate for its operations .

Othman noted that the existing rate is not supporting members’ operations and until a review is approved they will not return to work.

Concerns over the escalating diesel prices have been repeatedly voiced by NARTO members, who play a crucial role in transporting petroleum products across the country. According to oil marketers, the current price of diesel ranges between N1,250 to N1,400 per litre, varying depending on the location of purchase.

He highlighted the stagnant freight rates, which have remained unchanged despite significant increases in operational costs. Othman pointed out that while the cost of essential consumables has surged due to the depreciation of the local currency against the dollar, freight rates have remained stagnant since the previous administration.

“For instance, the freight rate from Lagos to Abuja has remained the same since former President Buhari’s tenure, despite the dollar exchange rate nearly tripling.

This inconsistency is unsustainable for our members,” he said.

Othman further illustrated the financial strain faced by transporters, citing examples of operating costs exceeding earnings. He said that the meagre payments received for local trips barely cover expenses such as fuel and maintenance, let alone other operational overheads.

In addition, the association has raised concerns about delayed payments from oil marketers, exacerbating cash flow problems for transporters.

NARTO has also called for regulatory reforms to address issues such as limited access to depots, ambiguous regulations, and difficulties in accessing affordable financing for vehicle maintenance and upgrades.

Meanwhile, speaking with Leadership correspondent, Clement Isong, executive secretary of Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria, (MEMAN) clearly stated that the current rate on the part of marketers is not even sustainable.

Isong said that though MEMAN is negotiating with transporters, it is beyond them to determine the rate chargeable for lifting of products.

He said, it will be unlawful for MEMAN to determine rates for transporters but noted that with the current exchange rate it is a strain on their business to continue to operate with existing rates.

The products are dollar priced and the exchange rate is not economically supporting business anymore.

Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo, immediate past president of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in his response advised authorities to listen to the demand of the transporters as business is actually collapsing under the exchange rate regime.

Credit : Leadership


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History as Nigeria Launches Mew 5-in-1 Meningitis Vaccine

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Nigeria has launched the new Men5CV vaccine, which offers protection against five strains of the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria (meningococcus) responsible for meningitis.

History as Nigeria Launches Mew 5-in-1 Meningitis Vaccine

Nigeria becomes the first country globally to launch the vaccine, which is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Men5CV vaccine rollout is a significant advance in the fight against meningitis, as it provides broader protection than the previous vaccines.

It shields against the major strains A, C, W, Y and X of meningococcal bacteria in a single shot. Existing vaccines sold in Africa are only effective against strain A.

The introduction of Men5CV is particularly crucial for Nigeria, one of the 26 hyper-endemic countries in Africa, which recently experienced an outbreak leading to 1,742 suspected cases.

In response, a vaccination campaign was conducted in March 2024 to reach more than one million individuals aged from one to 29.

The vaccine’s development, spanning 13 years, was a collaborative effort between PATH and the Serum Institute of India, with funding from the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The Men5CV vaccine utilises the same technology as the MenAfriVac vaccine that has eradicated meningococcal A epidemics in Nigeria.

In July 2023, the WHO prequalified the meningitis vaccine, branded as MenFive. It went on to issue a formal recommendation for its launch in October.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, provided funding for the vaccine and emergency vaccination activity, and allocated resources for the Men5CV rollout in December.

The vaccine is now available for outbreak response through the emergency stockpile managed by the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision.

Mass preventive campaigns involving the Men5CV vaccine rollout across sub-Saharan Africa’s ‘Meningitis Belt’ are expected to commence in 2025.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. WHO director-general, stated: “Meningitis is an old and deadly foe, but this new vaccine holds the potential to change the trajectory of the disease, preventing future outbreaks and saving many lives.

“Nigeria’s rollout brings us one step closer to our goal to eliminate meningitis by 2030.”


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NAFDAC Alerts Nigerians to EU Ban on Dex Soap

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National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), has alerted Nigerians on the ban on Dex Luxury Bar Soap (No 6 Mystic Flower), by the European Union (EU).

NAFDAC Alerts Nigerians to EU Ban on Dex Soap

The notification is contained in a public alert with No. 012/2024, signed by Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, director-general, NAFDAC, and issued to newsmen in Abuja on Sunday.

“The product does not comply with the cosmetic products regulation; it also contains Butyphenyl Methylpropional (BMHCA), which is prohibited in cosmetic products due to its risk of harming the reproductive system.

“It also causes harm to the health of unborn children and may cause skin sensitisation.

“It is as a result of the defective nature of the product that the EU banned it.

“The products is not in NAFDAC database; importers, distributors, retailers and consumers are to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain,” she said.

NAFDAC boss urged marketers and consumers to avoid the importation, distribution, sale and use of the product, stressing that product’s authenticity and physical condition must be carefully checked.

She enjoined members of the public in possession of the product to discontinue sale or use, and submit stock to the nearest NAFDAC office.


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EFCC Discovers Fraudulent COVID Funds, World Bank Loan in Poverty Ministry

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Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it has discovered shady dealings involving COVID-19 funds, World Bank loan, as well as Abacha recovered loot at the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Humanitarian Affairs.

EFCC Discovers Fraudulent COVID Funds, World Bank Loan in Poverty Ministry

In a Sunday statement, Dele Oyewale, EFCC spokesperson, said the funds were released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute poverty alleviation programmes.

The anti-graft agency said its recent investigation into the affairs of the ministry led to the recovery of N32.7 billion and $445,000 so far.

The EFCC added that “suspended officials” of the Ministry were linked to the fraudulent practice, saying those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly.

“At the outset of investigations, past and suspended officials of the Humanitarian Ministry were invited by the Commission and investigations into the alleged fraud involving them have yielded the recovery of N32.7billion and $445,000 so far,” the statement reads

“Discreet investigations by the EFCC have opened other fraudulent dealings involving Covid-19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate. Investigations have also linked several interdicted and suspended officials of the Ministry to the alleged financial malfeasance.

“It is instructive to stress that the Commission’s investigations are not about individuals. The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices. Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing Directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions.

“Those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly. Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily. The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary.”

Recall that, Betta Edu, suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, announced she has no link with the N30 billion purportedly recovered by the EFCC.


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