DPR shuts 48 filling stations as fuel price hits N500 a litre

Posted by News Express | 23 December 2017 | 1,565 times

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•Anxious motorists queue for scarce fuel

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) is getting tough with marketers found to be hoarding fuel as the current scarcity bites harder nationwide.

At the last count, no fewer than 48 filling stations have been shut down in Delta, Kwara and Ekiti states alone.

The price of petrol rose to N500 per litre yesterday in the black market in Lagos and N400 per litre in Abuja as more citizens travelled out of their stations for the Christmas celebration.

Many motorists even passed the night at filling stations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in their desperation to buy fuel.

The product sold for between N200 and N250 per litre in Anambra, Ogun and Abia states.

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) declared the scarcity unacceptable and charged President Muhammadu Buhari to rise up to the challenge.

“Nigerians must not be made to suffer, especially at this time of the year when we have the Yuletide and New Year festivities, which come with a lot of activities,” the party said in a statement in Abuja.

The DPR sealed up 38 filling stations in Delta State, six in Kwara and four in Ekiti.

Despite promises made by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to flood the market with more products and ensure that the scarcity evaporates this weekend, motorists continue to groan yesterday about the difficulty in buying fuel and the outrageous prices they were asked to pay at filling stations and by black marketers.

The DPR head of operations in Kwara State, Oyedele Ibitayo, said the affected stations were found culpable for various infractions ranging from diversion of fuel, overpricing and under dispensing to hoarding of petroleum products.

Ibitayo said although fuel supply to the state has reduced drastically in the last two weeks, whatever comes in must be properly dispensed by marketers.

He explained that the state which was receiving 39 trucks of petroleum products daily now receives between 12 and 19 trucks.

He maintained that the erring stations would be made to pay penalties and sign undertakings.

Erring petrol marketers in Ekiti State were fined between N100,000 and N200,000 depending on the degree of infraction.

The DPR team leader in the state, Mr. Anthony Onaji, said the punitive action became necessary to save Nigerians from further hardship.

“We quite understand that there may be short supply to Ekiti State but the quantity in circulation must be sold to the populace; it must not be hoarded,” he said.

“I don’t think it will be fair to Nigerians to find it difficult to get petrol, and when they get, they are made to buy above N145. So, this makes it compulsory for us to do our duty by ensuring that no sharp practice is tolerated.”

An unspecified number of filling stations were also sealed up in Anambra State yesterday.

The Edo State Government said yesterday it was collaborating with the DPR to monitor sale of fuel at filling stations.

It vowed to prosecute defaulting marketers.

Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Osarodion Ogie, said the state had received 465,000 litres of premium motor spirit (petrol) this weekend in addition to the 296,000 litres received on Tuesday.

Barrister Ogie explained that the collaboration with the DPR was meant to ensure that the products allocated to Edo State were dispensed to buyers at the official pump prices and save the people the hardship they suffer in the hands of shylock marketers.

He said: “Edo State has been sufficiently supplied with petroleum products and received a fresh 465,000 litres this weekend.

“Motorists and other users of petroleum products should refrain from panic buying that causes unnecessary queues at petrol stations and traffic congestion on major roads in the state.

“Marketers are hereby warned to ensure judicious dispensing of allocated products as government will not hesitate to apprehend and prosecute any erring marketer.”

Hundreds of motorists who had planned to travel out of Abuja yesterday with their families had to join long queues at filling stations in the hope of getting fuel to buy.

The queues spilled onto highways, disrupting a free flow of traffic in many parts of the city.

The queue at the NNPC super mega station, Kubwa, was particularly long, spanning about three kilometres.

Most of the filling stations run by independent marketers were locked as they had no fuel to sell.

The Vice National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Alhaji Abubakar Maigadi, told The Nation that there was no improvement in the supply of the product.

On the allegation of the diversion of petrol, he urged Nigerians to blame it on NNPC and major marketers, who according to him, are the ones getting the product from the depots.

“If they talk of diversion they should blame major marketers and NNPC retail outlets because they are the only people who are getting the supply. That is the fact. If the independent marketers are not supplied, there will be crisis of fuel supply,” he said.

A good number of filling stations in Ibadan opened for business yesterday although with long queues of vehicles.

The sale of fuel was however disorderly.

Some of the dealers had to call in security men to help them maintain order.

Prices also ranged between N150 and N250 per litre.

Commercial motorcyclists who were able to get the product made brisk business by charging 200 per cent of the normal fares.

When asked, one of them, Musa Ibrahim, said if only passengers knew what they went through in their efforts to get fuel, they would not complain about of the hike in fares.

According to him, they were molested by soldiers in some filling stations before they got the product, even after queuing for hours.

•Largely based on a report by The Nation.



Source: News Express

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