Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State says market forces should be allowed to determine the prices of petroleum products.

The governor said this on Wednesday in Ibadan while receiving a delegation of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) led by its Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Baru was in Ibadan for the inauguration of the NNPC depot in the Oyo State capital.

Ajimobi also urged NNPC to look for ways of engaging private investors in partnership, particularly in the area of setting up refinery.

The governor, who commended NNPC for its achievements in its retail business, requested for the construction of more outlets in the state.

“Oyo State is one of the most cosmopolitan states in Nigeria with a large population.

“ We all know that such a state would no doubt be among the largest consumers of petroleum products.

“NNPC should open more outlets, particularly in Ibadan, and be more competitive. You can even allow state governments to register for allocations,’’ he said.

He said that the NNPC depot in Ibadan had stopped working since the 1990s, adding that this had led to shortage in the supply of petroleum products to the state.

Ajimobi said that his administration had given some patrol vans to security agencies used in monitoring pipelines against acts of vandalism.

Earlier, Baru said he was in the state for the inauguration of the depot that had not been functioning in the last 20 years.

He said many pipeline network had been restored across the country.

“ We have lost lot of products and human lives to vandalism. We have embarked on the ongoing restoration of the pipelines in line with the APC-led administration in the country.

“President Muhammadu Buhari gave us orders and support to achieve all these and I am confident that we will deliver,’’ he said.

He called on the governor to assist NNPC in sensitising residents on the dangers inherent in pipeline vandalism.

“As a political class, you are more closer to the grassroots. We are appealing to you to help us enlighten our people on the dangers,” he said.

NAN reports that Baru, however, declined comments on the allegations leveled against him by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, when approached by newsmen.

NAN