Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) wednesday sealed a petrol service station affiliated to the downstream petroleum sector retail arm of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for serially abusing its regulations on sale of petrol in Nigeria
DPRâ€™s Zonal Operations Controller for Abuja, Mr. Abdu Abba Misau, stated during the closure of the station that the department had sealed the station four times with the most recent being last week for unwholesome activities, yet the station continued to cheat on unsuspecting customers.
Misau explained that the station which is located on the Kashim Ibrahim Way in Wuse 2 District of Abuja, had been found by its operators to regularly under-dispense petrol to its customers. He noted that from the discoveries they made, the station sell two litres short of every 10 litres they sell to customers, meaning that for every 10 litres bought and paid for by a customer, they actually get eight litres from the station.
â€œWe have sealed this station four times and the last time it was sealed before being closed again today was just last week and we opened it last Friday. Now they went back to what they do.
â€œWe figured out that what they normally do is that during the day, they ratify the pumps and when they are sure that we (DPR) have closed from work, they will set the pumps to under-dispense,â€ Misau said.
He added: â€œAnd this time, it is the worst under-dispensing that I have ever seen in my career here, because they are cheating the public. They under-dispense two litres on every 10 litres that they sell to the public, which translates to selling one litre of Petrol at N181. We cannot just close our eyes and allow them to continue this illicit act.â€
Speaking on the penalties the DPR would impose on the station, Misau stated: â€œWe have sealed this station severally and put a penalty, which they paid and are comfortable with paying, but always transfer the penalty to the public.
â€œWe canâ€™t allow them to continue doing that, and so this time around, we are going to apply a maximum sanction, which means that the station will remain sealed for the next four months, after which we can now take a decision on them.
â€œAnd, I want to appeal to NNPC, because they are using its name to cheat the public. We know the NNPC is doing everything possible to make this product available at government controlled price. So, I want to appeal to NNPC, it should not allow a businessman that does not have conscience to continue using its logo to cheat the public. The NNPC needs to look into this issue and see how it can solve this problem.
â€œWhether we tell the NNPC directly or not, the fact is that we treat all marketers equally. So, if we have to go and tell NNPC, it means we are not being honest to the other marketers. Whoever we find wanting, we just apply the needed sanction on the person. But right now, we are appealing to the NNPC,â€ he added.