ChinemeOkafor in Abuja
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has reminded petroleum marketers that the directive by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu that retail outlets hoarding petrol should be sealed and their product given out for free to the public, was still in place.
The regulatory agency has therefore warned that such errant stations that are in breach of the government’s regulation on downstream sector would be sanctioned.
The department also said that it had intensified its efforts at monitoring of petrol stations across the country to ensure that the lingering fuel scarcity ends sooner as planned by the minister.
The DPR’s Director, Mr. Mordecai Ladan stated during a recent tour of petrol stations in Abuja that already cargoes of petrol had started arriving in the country’s ports and lifting already begun.
Ladan said the federal government had ordered a large quantity of the product that would exceed the demand of Nigerians and called on people to stop panic purchase of petrol to enable filling stations manage the crowd.
“We are appealing to the public not to panic; these products are already arriving. The liftings are going on from the coastal depot into the hinterland. Very soon the situation would normalise. There are more than enough that the government has ordered, both by NNPC and the independent and major marketers,” Ladan said.
He noted that the attention of the DPR had severally been drawn to cases of hoarding and manipulation by some petrol stations, noting that it had stepped up effort to apprehend culprits and also ensure that the appropriate sanctions are meted out against them.
He then warned that the order on dispensing fuel free of charge to motorists whenever any station is caught hoarding the product was still in force and defaulters would be made to face the wrath of the law.
“Those allegations of hoarding and dispensing at night has come to the DPR and the DPR in conjunction with security operatives had also gone out in the night to monitor and penalise some of these stations,” he added.
He condemned the unruliness recorded in most petrol stations and called on motorist to maintain orderliness while they wait to purchase the product.
“That is why we are going round the petrol stations to ensure that there is sanity and order in the process of sale of the product to the public. We are calling on the station dealers to also form a sort of cooperation with the security operatives to help in putting order in their stations.
“We have officers that are going round to ensure that there is order and we hope that the public would keep calm, because as I said, government is on top of the situation; very soon, this experience is going to be over,” said Ladan.