Amby Uneze in Owerri
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), South-east zonal office on Saturday brought great relief to the public in Owerri, capital of Imo state, as the government agency under the Federal Ministry of Petroleum took the petroleum marketers by surprise in an ongoing enforcement to revert the pump price of petroleum products especially the premium motor spirit (PMS) to the government-regulated prize of N86.50 per litre.
Leading the enforcement team, the Controller of the zone, Ogbuefi Morrison Nwokedi ordered the sealing of five fillings stations in Owerri municipality and Nekede, Owerri West local council area of Imo State while many others were compelled to dispense the premium motor spirit, to motorists at the government approved pump price of N86.50 per litre.
At Oando filling station along Port Harcourt road, Owerri the officials of the DPR also discovered the station which was one of the stations sealed, had over 61,000 litres of PMS but could not sell the product alleging faulty generating set, but when apparently jolted by the excuse, an official DPR, an engineer by profession volunteered to fix it, behold it was in order. Nwokedi, not only ordered the sealing of the station but also directed the dealer to report to the office when he finally fixes the generator.
However, the situation was different at Ebere Links where the product was been sold at N170 before the arrival of DPR officials, who immediately forced them to revert to the official pump price.
Asking questions from newsmen after the monitoring exercise, Ogbuefi Nwokedi said that the major interest was the full compliance of government directive on the sale of PMS. According to him “No marketer has so far given us any lead to justify the outrageous price tag they placed on the petroleum product. Until they do this, we will continue to insist on the government approved pump price”.
He alleged the fear of the public that marketers would eventually go back to their old prize, stating that the probability of reverting to their prize was remote because they knew DPR officials were around, and “that we monitor them on regular basis”.
“So the concept of somebody reverting to N150 or N200 is remote because they know we are very much on ground and that we are very aggressive about our activities. You can see what happened today, they whole system, our staff were moving around the whole stations enforcing them to revert to government approved prize.
“The issue there is that they must comply, that is our job, and we will do it every day just to ensure that they comply with government directive. It is mandatory, it is sacrosanct as simple as that, and they must comply. There are sanctions attached to that if we go back and noticed that they have gone back to their old prize. If they go back we will apply the sanctions as enshrined in the regulation”, he stated.
Most car owners who spoke to newsmen, commended DPR for enforcing the government directive on pump price. According to those that spoke to THISDAY, they felt that great relief had come their way and wished it continued.
However, a concerned Nigerian, Prince Pat Abii appealed to government to ascertain if the marketers get the product at the depots or not, stressing that “it does not make economic sense if the marketers buy the product at over N100 per litre and are forced to sell at N86.50 per litre”.