BENUE State Task Force on Price Enforcement and Petroleum Products’ Monitoring has sealed seven filling stations in Makurdi for allegedly selling petrol for more than N97 per litre.
The filling stations sealed off are Imovic Nig Limited, Adonai Petrol, Bolek, Beco, Rain Oil, A.A. Rano and Duchess, all of which are independent marketers.
Apart from A. A. Rano, which was allegedly caught selling the product at N110 per litre, the other six were allegedly selling at 120 per a litre.
At Beco Filling Station, a tanker loaded with 40,000 litres of petrol was allegedly about to divert to Suleija but was ordered to be taken to the NNPC depot by Ekpe Ogbu, leader of the task force and Special Adviser to Governor Gabriel Suswam on Public Utility.
Apart from sealing off the stations, security agents on the team arrested their managers and pump attendants for further questioning and sanctions.
At most of the major marketers visited by the team in the city, motorists and other users of petrol were seen buying the product at the approved N97 per a litre.
In an interview with The Guardian, Ogbu said the exercise was carried out to ensure that the public got the product at the price fixed by government and called on residents to avail the task force with necessary information to enable it serve the them better.
In a remark, Gadaffi Asemanya, senior special assistant to the governor on public utility and a member of the task force, said the exercise has clearly shown that the task force was not conniving with petroleum dealers to defraud the people of the state as was being speculated in some quarters.
When asked why they did not abide by the N97 price approved by the government, Aliyu Shuaibu and Ibrahim Yunusa, managers of A.A. Rano and Rain Oil, told The Guardian that they sourced their petrol from private depots in Lagos at a high cost and that on adding the cost of loading and transportation, it shot up to about N117 per litre.
They stressed that if compelled to sell petrol at government fixed price, they would huge incur losses.