Filling Stations in South East, Abuja Extorting Motorists; Selling Fuel at N250

Image: NNPC GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru, and members of the fuel distribution monitoring team dispensing fuel found at one of the illegal filling stations in Bassa Jiwa community, behind Abuja Airport, to a motor-cyclist free of charge during the raid on illegal filling stations.

Nsukka-As the fuel scarcity in most parts of the country bites harder, many filling stations have taken advantage of the situation to extort Nigerians by hiking the price of fuel from N145 to as high as N250.

Our reporter in the south east, Nsukka in Enugu state precisely who visited some filling stations in the area, discovered that though the queues were not long but the product is being sold to motorists at an exorbitant Price of N250 per litre.

A motorist who was at the station to fuel her car Thursday morning, lamented over the increase which she said is a wicked act, adding that the purchasing power has dropped to the core as fuel of N5,000 which she bought amounted to only 20 litres as against about 35 litres if it was sold at N145.

Meanwhile in Abuja, the Joint Task Force on Fuel Distribution made up officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has intensified its clampdown on illegal filling stations known for receiving diverted products and selling same to motorists at cut-throat prices in Abuja and environs.

So far, between Tuesday and Wednesday, seven of such stations along the Kubwa and Airport Road axes of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, have been clamped down with the petrol found in their storage tanks dispensed free of charge to motorists by the members of the Joint Task Force led by the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru, a statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division,Ndu Ughamadu reveals.

Speaking during the raid on an unnamed filling station in Byazhini Community, Kubwa, a suburb of Abuja, which was caught red-handed selling petrol at N250 per litre, the GMD said such stations were being used to divert products meant for legal filling stations and warned all such illegal marketers to desist from being used to sabotage the efforts of the government to make fuel available to all Nigerians at the approved price.

“I want to warn marketers that don’t want to heed our advice, especially those operating at night, that the law will catch up them very soon. The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have commenced monitoring of such stations. Just yesterday (Tuesday), we identified some defaulting stations and we are going to impound their products and dispense it free to motorists,” Baru stated.

He said about 24 trucks laden with petrol meant for Abuja were diverted to some states in the south eastern part of the country, adding that the defaulting marketers have been identified and would be sanctioned accordingly.

The follow-up raid of illegal filling stations on the Airport Road axis took the team to Bassa Jiwa community behind the Abuja Airport where three errant stations were shut down with products in their storage also dispensed free of charge to motorists.

At one of the stations, McManakai Global Services, the team found 39,000 litres in its storage tank which it was selling to motorists at N240 per litre as against the approved the price of N145 per litre.

The GMD also reiterated the Corporation’s determination to end the artificial scarcity by increasing fuel truck out across the country.

“What we are doing is that we are maximizing the daily truck out to Abuja and other cities. Yesterday, we had about 114 trucks that dispatched products to Abuja as against 70 to 80 trucks earlier received daily. As at Monday, we have loaded about 230 trucks for Abuja. When they arrive and with 24-hour operations in place, we should be able to eliminate most of the queues,” Dr. Baru enthused.

Speaking on the raid on illegal filling stations, the Abuja Zonal Operations Controller of DPR, Mr. Abdu Abba Misau, said some of the operators of the errant filling stations were earlier directed to revert to N145 but decided to ignore the advice, adding that the NSCDC would arrest and prosecute the perpetrators appropriately.

He warned motorist to desist from patronizing such illegal stations to avoid damage to their vehicles as one of the stations raided was found with adulterated petrol.

On his part, the Assistant Commandant-General, Operations of the NSCDC, Mr. Aminu Kofar Soro, stated that his men were well prepared for the task, adding that so far 25 arrests had been made and large number of trucks confiscated.

The operation, saw the clampdown of three stations at Bassa village behind Abuja Airport and another station at Sauka Village along Airport Road, with combined stock of 66, 500 litres of petrol.

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