Abuja — The Department of Petroleum Resources, Tuesday, commenced the monitoring of petrol stations across the country to ensure the smooth supply of petroleum products across the country during the period of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.
Addressing newsmen monitoring of petrol stations in the Federal Capital Territory under its reinforcement of sales and distribution of petroleum products campaign, Abuja Zonal Controller of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr. Buba Abubakar, stated that so far, most petrol stations are complying with the directive of the Federal Government, while he called on Nigerians to desist from panic buying.
He noted that in addition to the presence of its staff across all the fuel supply value chain, some of its staff had been placed on standby, to be deployed to areas where there are complaints of disruption in fuel supply.
He affirmed that the DPR would continue with the monitoring of the fuel situation throughout the period of the lockdown, noting that any petrol station found hoarding the commodity would be sanctioned.
He said, “As you can see, everything is going smoothly from the distribution, marketing and sales of the product. It is so far, so good.
“This monitoring is going to continue. Even after now, we are going out in the afternoon, it is a continuous process.
“My general assessment is that everything is okay. Nigerians should not engage in panic buying. We seriously try to stop people from buying in cans because of the temperature we have today; the product can become very volatile. We should not do panic buying at any time; there is availability of products; people are working; sales are ongoing, there is no cause for alarm.”
However, oil marketers who complied with the directive, lamented that the lockdown was affecting the movement of their staff, as vehicles were not available to convey them to the petrol stations, while over zealous security personnel were restricting their movement.
At the Conoil petrol station, Kado Estate, Abuja, manager of the outlet, Mr. Godwin Aghogho, disclosed that the station had opened since 7am, in compliance with the directive of the government, noting, however, that it had not been having patronage since it opened.
He stated that the outlet currently have fuel stock of 6,900 litres and intends to take delivery of more quantity later in the day.
The NNPC Retail Outlet, Katampe, along the Kubwa Expressway, was also attending to customers, while one of the attendants disclosed that patronage had been very low since the station opened.
He, however, lamented the difficulty in commuting to the station, noting that he spent several hours in traffic at Mararaba and Nyanya, due to security checkpoints along the way to Katampe.
Similar complaints was made by officials of Conoil and Total petrol station at the Central Business District, opposite the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
At Conoil, the Station Manager, Mr. Lawrence Ogbagha, who noted that the station opened with 66,050 litres in stock and also expecting more products, had many of its staff trapped at home or in traffic, due to over zealous security personnel who refused to allow them come to work despite identifying themselves as workers at petrol station.
He further stated that most of its staff were unable to get vehicles that would convey them from their homes to the stations due to the lockdown, while he called on the government to provide alternatives that would ease this transportation challenge.
Assistant Station Manager, Total filling station, Central Business District, Mr. Bature Yaki, also stated that most of its staff were trapped at the gridlock along the Mararaba, Nyanya Road, while some of them could not get vehicles to transport them to the office.
He, however, noted that the station opened with 33,000 litres of petrol and was discharging as at the time the inspection team visited the station.