…As AMCON takes over assets
By LOUIS IBAH
Indigenous firm, Capital Oil & Gas Limited, has shut down its operations, following a court order by Justice A. Abdu-Kafarati of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja ordering that the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) takes over the possession of all propertied and assets of the oil firm.
“In the light of the order, the Jetties and Depots of Capital Oil & Gas Industries Limited located at Apapa have been shut down with immediate effect,” said the oil firm in a statement on Friday. “With effect from today, Friday November 16, 2012 (yesterday) discharge and loading of petroleum products from the facility is temporarily suspended.
We wish to emphasise that we stopped operations by 4:37am this morning 16/11/2012 with a total load-out of 224 trucks of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) – equivalent of 8, 151, 270 litres of PMS – belonging to NNPC. This will remain our last operation till further notice. This is to ensure that that the order of the court is not in any way violated,” it added.
The closure would however, have far-reaching impacts on Nigeria’s fuel supply situation as the oil firm accounts for more than 35 per cent of the fuel import and supply in the country. Said the oil firm in the release: “Before the court order, our operations had been greatly threatened. Now the open-secret plan to take over our business has materialised. This is no doubt a clear case of victimisation. Nigerians will unfortunately be worse for it. If only they had put the nation’s interest first.
“That a company like ours, which accounts for about 35 per cent of daily petroleum products distribution in Nigeria, can be the subject of such an application and court order is baffling. The Government has refused to pay us. It would appear that those who want to take over our business are succeeding with the aid of their friends in government. “We empathise with the long-suffering masses of Nigeria who have been experiencing long queues in filling stations, non-availability of petroleum products as well as high cost of transportation.”
The oil firm went further to allege that it was a victim of victimisation. Said Capital Oil: “We had cried out that the unsubstantiated findings by the Aig-Imoukhuede Committee was strangulating our business by denying us access to payments from the Federal Government, credit, business partners, good-will etc as well as making us look like criminals and people without integrity.
“They came up with subsidy, we defended it and they could not refute our defense. They came up with Access Bank and Coscharis, we went to court and they refused to appear, rather, they went to a United Kingdom (UK) court. “Now they are coming with AMCON.
For the benefit of Nigerians, we have been discussing with AMCON with two Nigerian financial consultants and a British firm, towards reconciling our position and exposures with AMCON. We have not been found wanting in terms of cooperation with AMCON even when government policies have adversely affected our business over the last 10 months.
“We cannot be stopped from trading, our funds tied down, and at the same time, are found wanting for not meeting our obligations by the same Government Ministry. We have painstakingly managed to pay our workers salaries till October 2012, even when we have not received any form of payment in the last 10 months.”
Capital Oil has ,in recent months, been immersed in a crisis of breach of contracts with Assess Bank and Coscharis Limited over the importation and distribution of petroleum products, and the case is already a subject of litigation. The oil firm is also among the oil firms being investigated for alleged mismanagement of fuel subsidy proceeds.