23 November 2015, Lagos – The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) at the weekend dispensed free fuel in petrol stations caught hoarding the product.
The DPR’s action, which saw many Nigerians having free petrol, was in line with the order of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, last week, that fuel should be given free where a petrol station is caught hoarding the product.
In Lagos, the DPR at the weekend dispensed free fuel to motorists at ConOil Filling Station as punishment for hoarding PMS (Premium Motor Spirit). The regulatory agency, in the course of its inspection of petrol stations, came across a ConOil Station in Apapa with several litres of petrol in its underground tank, but they were not selling the product to the customers.
DPR immediately ordered the attendants to fill the tanks of motorists free.
Also caught in the web of malpractice was a Total filling station on Ikorodu Road, the DPR officials also ordered that the fuel be dispensed free.
This will be the second time in one month that Total will be coming under the harmer of the regulators for fuel hoarding. Earlier in the month, the company’s depot in Apapa was sealed by DPR officials who went on an inspection in the area.
In Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, DPR officials ordered that the fuel in Alkad and Sons Nigeria Limited station, located within Olorunsogo area, Ilorin, allegedly hoarded a total of 2,300 litres of fuel.
Newswatch Times gathered that the surveillance team of the department swooped on the station following a tip off by concerned citizens that management of the station was hoarding the commodity.
Acting on the intelligence, the team led by DPR Operation Controller, Mr. Salvation Philip, dug up the station’s stock and uncovered 2,300 litres of fuel while the station had allegedly told distraught buyers that it had exhausted the stock.
A dramatic scene reportedly ensued when motorists and other buyers scrambled for the commodity as soon as the DPR boss instructed that the fuel be given free of charge in line with ministerial directive.
It took the intervention of security agents attached to the agency to control the surging crowd of cars and motorcycles.
In the same vein, Nasmut Nigeria Limited, located in Otte, Asa Local Government Area of the state, a suburb of Ilorin, was also accused of hoarding a large volume of petrol, after which the DPR operation controller ordered that the commodity be given to members of the public free.
It would be recalled that the filling station was initially sealed off by the DPR for allegedly engaging in sharp practices, including selling above the official of N87 per litre.
But attendants at the station, allegedly acting on the instruction of the manager, tampered with the seal and started selling to buyers at night.
Speaking with newsmen after the exercise, DPR operation controller said the action was in accordance with the directive of Minister of State for Petroleum.
He stated that the punitive measure would serve as deterrent to other hoarders that it was no longer business as usual, saying the agency was poised to ensure that the commodity was properly distributed.
“We are out for surveillance because of the situation on ground, and we want to make sure that the fuel that comes in is distributed to commuters. When we got to this place (Alkad), we dug and discovered that they (management of the station) were hoarding 2,300 litres of fuel.
“So, we are simply enforcing the ministerial directive. We are giving the fuel free to fellow Nigerians that need it. It is a critical time; we have to utilize what is available. This is the second station so far we caught hoarding and the ministerial directive is that whichever station that is caught hoarding, fuel should be given free to the citizens.
“We want to use this to serve a very strong warning to all marketers that anybody caught hoarding, diverting or flouting petroleum laws and regulations, that infractions would be meted with the full wrath of the law.
“So, we are not joking about it. Let this serve as a deterrent to all intending hoarders of petroleum products. The situation is critical. We want to make sure that what is available is utilized. Any violation would not be tolerated by the Department of Petroleum Resources, especially here in Kwara State.
“And I’m using this to send a very strong warning to marketers, desist from hoarding, desist from diversion because if you don’t, appropriate sanctions would follow suit and I mean it with every sense of seriousness,” he added.
- Newswatch Times