The Gombe State field office of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has forcefully supervised the sale of fuel at N145 per litre in filling stations, sealing six others across the State for offences bordering on selling above the official pump price as well as hoarding of products.
Controller of Operations at the Gombe Field Office, Abdullahi Abawa said the department embarked on the operation to regulate the activities of fuel dispensation in order to reduce the hardships faced by commuters because of the lingering fuel scarcity.
Abawa told Journalists that it is the responsibility of DPR to regulate activities in the oil business particularly now that there’s the scarcity of fuel across the country and that was why they had to force some filling stations to open and directed the sale of the products to the public.
He accused oil marketers for the prevailing fuel scarcity saying the marketers do not help the situation as many have been involved in diversion as well as selling above the official pump price of N145 per litre.
“The situation is subsisting because oil marketers are not cooperating, they are difficult and inconsiderate and I wonder why anybody would like to inflict hardships on fellow citizens,” he said.
He warned that DPR would not fold its arms and “allow impunity to continue with reckless abandon,” adding that the field office would soon embark on a ten-day surveillance exercise to ensure that filling stations are dispensing fuel at the official pump price of N145 per litre.
He said the department would look into the issues leading to the sealing of the filling stations with a view to enforcing appropriate sanctions.
Correspondents who covered the operations observed that one of the filling stations, Tukur Dahiru Mohammed Nigeria Limited was sealed for diverting 26, 000 litres of petrol while at the AYM filling station located in Yarima Quarters area of Gombe, the DPR officials forced the marketer to adjust his pump price from N210 to the official rate of N145.
The officials also directed the manager of the filling station to sell the entire product in the station to the public before sealing the station afterwards.
However, Alhaji Umar Ibrahim, state chairman of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) in a chat with reporters blamed the unavailability of fuel at the loading depots as responsible for the prevailing fuel scarcity.
Ibrahim said over 150 trucks from Gombe were waiting to lift products from Lagos as at the moment he was speaking.
“Most people don’t know that there is no fuel supply at the depot. It’s our business to lift and transport fuel but right now our trucks are lying idle in Lagos waiting for supply,” he said.
Most consumers in Gombe commended the DPR for embarking on the operation to regulate the sale of fuel, adding that most marketers were exploiting consumers by jerking up the pump price to as high as N300 per litre.
A consumer, Danladi Shehu who was excited at the chance to fill the tank of his car, expressed gratitude to DPR officials saying, “It’s now that we know something is being done to address the biting fuel scarcity. We pray that you succeed in your endeavors,” he said.