The safety of air travel in Nigeria is in question again. In a petition sent on December 5 to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, the Major Oil Marketers Association (MOMAN) alleges that some unscrupulous Nigerians are selling kerosene meant for domestic consumption (DPK) to aviation operators as jet fuel (Jet A1).

And SaharaReporters has learned that SAHARA ENERGY LTD, which is the monopoly importer of DPK on behalf of the NNPC, is one of the companies responsible for passing off DPK to such airlines as Arik Air, Chachangi Airlines, Air Nigeria, DANA Air and Associated Airlines as aviation fuel, making a staggering monthly profit of USD43million in the process.

SAHARA ENERGY LTD, which is  owned by Tope Sonubi and Tonye Cole, perpetrates the dangerous but profitable scam through its SO Aviation subsidiary, and it makes its vast profits by taking advantage of its position to sell the product, which it obtains from the NNPC at only N40.90k per litre, to the airlines as imported aviation fuel at N152 per litre.

But they are not the same product.  While Jet A1 and DPK are similar products, said MOMAN in its petition, they possess “totally different specifications and require different levels of handling, transportation and storage infrastructure” expertise possessed by members of MOMAN who are duly audited annually and certified by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Joint Inspection Group (JIG).” 

As a result, “The final product dispensed into the aircraft meets DFSTAN and AFRQJOS standards,” MOMAN said.

Our investigations have further shown that international airlines such as British Airways, Emirates, KLM and Lufthansa refuse to purchase Aviation fuel from SO Aviation, out of concern for established standards and safety.

Checks in the international market, particularly in the Lloyds has also confirmed that SAHARA ENERGY has not imported Aviation fuel in recent times solely for sale to airline operators in Nigeria.

SaharaReporters has not been able to confirm if the Minister for Petroleum Resources has taken any actions in response to the petition in order to save the country further air tragedies. 
In one of its two recommendations in MOMAN’s petition to her, it asked that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) share with the association all the required information on DPK PFIs being issued monthly so as to ensure adequate tracking of the supplies from the Mother Vessels to the eventual points of sale. In return, MOMAN would provide that information to the PPMC for their records.

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