URBAN and rural areas in the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s main oil and gas region, are currently experiencing a severe non-availability of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol, in the energy stations. This has resulted to long queues at the stations with commuters made to pay through their noses.

Worried, the Niger Delta Indigenous Movement for Radical Change (NDIMRC), a socio-political group, is calling for ”a thorough purge” of the allegedly graft-ridden energy sector of Nigeria..

Before the Monday slash of PMS price from N141 per litre to N97 by President Goodluck Jonathan, the product was everywhere. The sudden non-availability of the product at the retail stations is a major cause of worry to the civil society.

The Niger Delta group told AkanimoReports on Wednesday that they strongly believe that there is a high level conspiracy involving top players in the state agencies ”to mess up” the Jonathan ”due to the florishing graft channels in the oil sector”.

They therefore, want the Federal Government to sack the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Austen Oniwon, an engineer, the top executives of the Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR), those of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), and those of the Petroleum Resources Ministry in a bid to allow for unfettered probe of the institutions.

While they lauded Jonathan, for directing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to immediately commence a probe of the utilization of the more than N1.3 trillion subsidy fund and for petrol price to N97 per litre, they insisted that without putting top executives of the state institutions ”out of circulation, the probe  process could be infected by the graft virus in the sector”..

NDIMRC President, Nelly Emma, told AkanimoReports that the probe was long overdue. Both the group Secretary, John Sailor and Public Relations Officer, Mukoro Stanley, in a telephone chat with our correspondent in Warri, the commercial nerve-centre of Delta State, all agreed with their leader.

According to them, ”we have been insisting that the NNPC is rotten and all the rotten eggs in the corporation must be arrested and prosecuted. President Jonathan should start with that if he is serious about fighting graft”.

They alleged that the NNPC management has been working with the ‘cabal’ suspected to be sucking the country dry, and bent on frustrating efforts of President Jonathan’s administration at transformation.

Continuing, they said the NNPC Headquarters in Abuja should be properly watched in order to prevent it from being set on fire to cover up all ”the dirty tracks there” before the probe by EFCC, adding, ”this is why we are seriously calling for the purge of the oil sector.”.

They argued that when this is done, government should pick a qualified person working within the NNPC and who is either from the South South or the East to pilot the affairs of NNPC. We plead that the EFCC should do a clean job in the probe of the Corporation,” the group stated.

In the mean time, they are calling on Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, to encourage local players from the oil region who have invested heavily in capacity building, with ”good contracts and give allocations and oil blocks to our people because it is our oil”.

Adding, they said, ”fix our people in sensitive positions in NNPC instead of allowing such positions to be occupied by the Hausas and Yorubas who are not supporting the administration of President Jonathan. The Petroleum Minister cannot afford to fail the people of the Niger Delta region”.