The Department of Petroleum Resources in Kwara State yesterday enforced the directive by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, by dispensing fuel to motorists and motorcyclists free of charge.
The minister had last week in response to the worsening fuel scarcity across the country, said the country had enough petrol in stock to last for at least 16 days and blamed the problem on filling stations, who he accused of hoarding the product to drive costs up and make dishonest profit in the process.
To put an end to the unholy practice, Kachikwu ordered the DPR to visit any station hoarding fuel and distribute the product free after which the station should be sealed.
It was in view of this directive that the surveillance team of the DPR, acting on a tip-off, swooped in on Alkad and Sons Nigeria Limited, a filling station situated along Olorunsogo, Ilorin.
The team led by Operation Controller of DPR, Mr Salvation Philip, dug up the station’s stock and uncovered 2,300 litres of fuel while the station allegedly told buyers that it had exhausted the stock.
Also Nasmut Nigeria Limited, located in Otte, Asa Local Government Area, of the state, a suburb of Ilorin, was found to be hoarding a large volume of petrol and the DPR operation controller ordered that the commodity be given to members of the public free.
Speaking with journalists, Mr. Philip said the action of the department was in accordance with the directive of the minister.
He stated that the development would serve as deterrent to other hoarders.
Philip said the agency was poised to ensure that the commodity was properly distributed among commuters.
“We are out for surveillance because of the situation on ground and we want to make sure that the fuel that comes in is distributed to commuters. When we got to this place (Alkad), we dug and discovered that they (management of the station) were hoarding 2300 litres of fuel. So, we are simply enforcing the ministerial directive. We are giving the fuel free to fellow Nigerians that need it. It is a critical time we have to utilize what is available. This is the second station so far we caught hoarding”, he said.
“We want to use this to send a very strong warning to all marketers that anybody caught hoarding, diverting or flouting petroleum laws and regulations would be made to face the law. So, we are not joking about it. Let this serve as a deterrent to all intending hoarders of petroleum products. The situation is critical. We want to make sure that what is available is utilized. Any violation would not be tolerated by the Department of Petroleum Resources, especially here in Kwara State”, Mr. Philip added.