There seems to be a crack in the ranks of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Ekiti State, following threats by the state governor, Ayodele Fayose, to revoke their filling stations certificates of occupancy if they fail to reopen their stations.
The marketers embarked on an indefinite strike over their faceoff with Mr. Fayose, regarding the siting of filling stations by some of their members.
As the ultimatum rolls to its expiration on Thursday, a few filling started selling the products in Ado-Ekiti.
A similar threat was issued by the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), warning the marketers to call off the strike or face dire consequences.
The threats came after angry youth on Monday stormed some of the fuel stations and destroyed machines and buildings.
But a member of IPMAN who said he would not want to be named for fear of victimization, said they were united on the cause to get the government to accede to their demands.
“We are not in any way polarized, we only told our members to be selling occasionally to people to ease their sufferings,” he said.
“Last week, some sold the product to the people and was it the government’s threat that did the magic? We are still on strike and nothing will stop us.”
Meanwhile, the Muslim Rights Congress (MURIC), has called on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to stop “government-sponsored hoodlums” from carrying out further attacks on homes and business premises of Muslims and other law-abiding residents of Ekiti State.
MURIC Director, Ishaq Akintola, in a press statement on Thursday, described the attacks on filling stations of a prominent businessman, Sulaiman Akinbami, and other marketers as “flagrant abuse of power to threaten law-abiding and peaceful citizens.”
He said every Nigerian citizen had the right to domicile in any part of the country urging the IGP to “act immediately before an innocent man and most probably many others along with him are viciously crushed by a marauding and lawless governor.”
“Governor Fayose is victimizing Alhaji Akinbami for being a practicing and committed Muslim. Akinbami is not really Fayose’s target, it is Islam. Fayose has demonstrated his hatred for Muslims in several ways before,” the group claimed.
“The governor was alleged to have threatened to deal with Alhaji Akinbami during his media chat on Monday and complained that he could not tolerate Alhaji Akinbami’s business ventures because the latter is from Osun State.
“It will be recalled that the governor had threatened to bulldoze the businessman’s petrol stations few weeks ago because there are mosques inside the complex.”
The Ekiti State Council of Elders has also pleaded with the state government to extend the ultimatum for it to be able to intervene by consulting all parties involved in the imbroglio.
A statement jointly signed by its chairman, Joseph Oluwasanmi and Secretary, Niyi Ajibulu, appealed to the marketers to resume work in the overall interest of the populace.