By Michael Eboh
The Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Saturday, read the riot act to oil marketers, ordering depots with petroleum products to commence massive truck out of the products to petrol stations across the country. The DPR, in a statement signed its Director, Petroleum Resources, Mr. Mordecai Ladan, also directed all petrol stations in strategic locations to operate on a 24 hours throughout the Easter holidays and beyond. Ladan said the DPR had constituted special intelligence monitoring teams nationwide to ensure prompt delivery of petroleum products to designated filling stations, adding that the teams would enforce government-approved price regime and ensure the right quantity and quality of products are dispensed.
He said, “The DPR, hereby, directs All depots with liftable petroleum products to truck out massively to designated filling stations as programmed while all filling stations in strategic locations shall continue to operate 24 hours during the Easter holidays.” He further warned that the N2 million sanction against fuel depots found engaging in overpricing of petroleum products and N100,000 per dispensing pump sanction against filling stations found to be selling above the regulated price and other related offences are still in force.
He stated that any marketer found to be hoarding would have their products dispensed free to the public while diversion of products would attract a penalty of N200 per litre.
He said, “In addition, offenders’ operating licences would be suspended for a minimum of three months or outright revocation depending on the magnitude of the offence.
“The Public is hereby advised to contact the DPR 24 hours call centre — 019037150 or 012790000 — to report any suspected violation or sharp practice for prompt response.”
The comments by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu that the fuel scarcity witnessed across the country would continue till the end of May, had worsened the fuel crisis, as massive queues resurfaced petrol stations across the country.
Specifically, the queues which was gradually thinning out since the beginning of last week, took a turn for the worse, as motorists struggle to purchase the product, since, according to some of them, it is uncertain when next they would get the product to buy.
Kachikwu had told State House Correspondent last Wednesday that the fuel crisis would continue till May, as he was not a magician to make the queues disappear.
However, the NNPC in a statement in Abuja, denied that Kachikwu made such statement, saying it was a “Misinterpretation of an otherwise benign and sincere assessment of the fuel supply scenario.”
The NNPC also stated that efforts are in full gear to eliminate all extraneous factors which have so far impeded the free flow of petrol across the country, especially the issue of foreign exchange for oil marketers which the Honourable Minister is working with the Central Bank of Nigeria to resolve.
The NNPC apologized to Nigerians for the hardship in assessing petroleum products, assuring of normalisation of the fuel supply and distribution system in the weeks ahead. ThisDay