By Ikeugonna Eleke
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has called on the Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, to offset N900.7M debt owed its members for petroleum products supplied.
The group said the money was owed to about 70 contractors for diesel supplied to his government for power generating sets used to run streetlights across the state for one month. The transaction happened in March and April, 2022.
Soludo who was sworn into office in March 2022 had complained about the high cost of fueling the generators which powered the streetlights installed by his predecessor, Chief Willie Obiano; which added to the aesthetics of most of the urban areas.
He had after one month of procuring diesel for the generators dumped the streetlights, throwing major highways into darkness.
He however later installed solar-powered streetlights, while deactivating those installed by Obiano.
Meanwhile, IPMAN, in a letter to Soludo, signed by Chinedu Anyaso and Emeka Iloafor as chairman and secretary of IPMAN, respectively, disclosed that within the one month that Soludo used the Obiano-installed streetlights, their members were owed N900m.
In the letter titled ”Request For Debt Payment of N900,664,805.00 Owed Our Members For Diesel Supplied And Services Rendered In Respect Of Street Lights”, the association said the decision to intervene in the transactions was reached at its annual general meeting in Enugu on August 24.
The letter read in part: “We, IPMAN covering Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu States, write to appreciate the good work you are doing in Anambra and commend all your efforts in making the state a livable place.
”We want to bring to your notice that your department in charge of paying for diesel and services on the Anambra streetlights has refused to offset an outstanding debt owed to our members. The debt is to the tune of N900, 664, 805 accrued for the months of March and April 2022.
“Our members are dying because of these debts and the banks are chasing them around to repay the loans given to them to do this business. We attach the breakdown of the debts for your records, sir”.
When contacted, the Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community affairs, Hon TonyCollins Nwabunwanne, whose office allegedly oversaw the transaction, said he was not aware that they wrote a letter to the governor, and that he had not seen it. He however said he understood what they were talking about.