*NNPC, DPR dispense 57,000 litres free to motorists
29 December 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has assured Nigerians that the issues of long fuel queues and petrol scarcity across the country will disappear by the weekend.
The Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, gave the assurance while addressing reporters in Abuja.
According to him, NNPC is winning the war and putting in place adequate measures to ensure the product is easily accessible to the people in all parts of the country.
“I promise by the weekend, most of the abrasions we’ve been noticing will disappear. You could see that we are winning the war,” Baru said.
“The (fuel) queues have significantly subsided in Abuja; In Lagos, they’ve almost become none existent and, of course, we are pushing it to the other cities as well as to the hinterlands.”
However, the fuel queues, which began on Dec. 7, are yet to abate as our correspondent who went to town witnessed long and unending lines of vehicles at a few petrol stations that have products to sell, waiting to buy petrol.
In a similar vein, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on Thursday assured Nigerians that the lingering scarcity of petrol being experienced across the country will come to an end in the next few days.
The Director of DPR, Mr. Mordecai Ladan, gave the assurance after his inspection visit to some private depots in Lagos.
Ladan said, “Petroleum products are coming in gradually; in most of the depots visited, some are being discharged, while there is assurance that some will come in again within 48 hours. I think with all we have seen now in the depots visited, petrol should be available in all filling stations across the country in few days time.
“The scarcity of petrol will soon ease out in days to come,” he assured Nigerians.
Ladan appealed to the depots to focus more supply on the independent marketers’ filling stations, saying that they were most affected by the scarcity of petrol.
He said that independent marketers have filling stations in most major locations in the country, and most of them had not received any supply for weeks.
The DPR inspection team visited Folawiyo Energy Ltd. and NIPCO Tank Farm in Apapa.
Meanwhile, a team of officials from DPR, NNPC and security agents on Thursday dispensed 57,000 litres of petrol free to motorists.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Product Marketing Company (NPMC), Mr. Umar Ajiya, had on Dec. 13, warned illegal profiteers to desist or face losing their products.
The team, which was on its fifth day of monitoring, got more information from anonymous Nigerians and made good on its promise to give out petrol free from any filling station that sold above the N145 approved cap.
The first station visited by the team on Thursday was Mcmanakai Global Services in Bassa, a village in Abuja airport, which had 39,000 litres of petrol, while the handlers of the second station absconded when they learnt of the presence of the team.
The team also visited a third petrol station also in Bassa, FCT, where it sealed Enesi Petroleum because the facility was selling a mixture of petrol and kerosene to unsuspecting motorists.
It had 9,750 litres of petrol and 4,750 litres of kerosene.
Another unnamed filling station in Soka, FCT, which was selling at N240, had 18,000 litres of petrol that was dispensed free to motorists on the queue.
At Mcmanakai petrol station, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, told newsmen that “DPR and Civil Defence identified this station on Wednesday as an illegal, unregistered station.
“The station has products and is selling above the 145 cap. DPR stopped the managers from selling at that rate on Wednesday but the handlers resumed selling at N245 today (Thursday).
“So, the same punishment we meted out to other stations would be done here and elsewhere found to be doing same.
He assured that trucks of petrol coming into Abuja and other cities had been increased to ensure that with 24-hour operations, the queues disappeared by the weekend.
The Abuja Zonal Operations Controller of DPR, Mr. Mohammed Abba, told newsmen, that “we received information about illegal activities of petrol stations from good Samaritans, otherwise we may not know the existence of some of these filling stations.
“We asked them to revert to N145 so that the product would be accessible. We didn’t want to stop business for handlers of these stations: we wanted them to just follow the rules but they refused.
“We had no option than to direct that product be given to the public free and we sanction the owners of the station and hand them over to Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for prosecution.
Abba said DPR would not just seal stations with products in Abuja, depending on the gravity of the offence committed, but would ask the marketer to revert to approved price except when such marketers proved recalcitrant.
The Assistant Commandant-General, Operations (NSCDC), Mr. Aminu Abdullahi, told newsmen that the corps was trained to tackle the situation.
He said all suspects would be tried under the Petroleum Distribution and Sabotage Act and if found guilty, defaulters would be charged.
He added that “We have confirmed the illegality of the various operations and we are going to take measures legally to prosecute suspects. Any oil marketer who refused to revert to the approved price, our men are on the ground to ensure compliance.”