Following reports of biting fuel scarcity in the country, Ibe Kachikwu, the minister of state for petroleum resources, has ordered the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to seal off fuel stations found to be hoarding petroleum products and give out the petroleum free to the public.
Nigerians have been groaning in the past weeks over the increasing scarcity of fuel in major cities across the country, with petrol stations hoarding the fuel and selling at exorbitant prices, way higher than the fuel pump price.
This has also given rise to the return of ‘black markets’ to the streets as people who are unable to get fuel from the filling stations now resort to buying from the people on the streets.
But according to Premium Times, Kachikwu, who gave this order after a working visit to some retail outlets in Abuja, has assures that all of those activities will soon become a thing of the past as stations defaulting would be seriously penalised.
He said: “I have instructed DPR that if they discover any fuel station involved in hoarding, they should sell the products for free to customers around there.
“It is not just sealing the station that is the answer. It is penalizing them when they do these things. I hope the message goes out loud and clear.”
The minister is scheduled to meet with key operators in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry; Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, as well as Jetty and Tank Farm Owners Associations.
“I am getting all the majors to get involved and they must take charge of the situation. They must take responsibility for all their filling stations. I have instructed the DPR and the Petroleum Equalization Fund and all the other agencies to work towards the Fast track movement of petrol bearing trucks and vessels,” the minister informed, adding that there was enough supply of petroleum products by the Nigerian National petroleum Corporation.
Meanwhile, Senator Ben Murray Bruce representing Bayelsa state at the National Assembly, has called on the federal government to legalize and register illegal refineries.
He believes that this move is likely to immediately increase refining capacity by 20% and put an end to the incessant fuel scarcity being experienced in the country.