By Daniel Idonor
The Presidency last night warned that stiffer penalty awaits petroleum product marketers who unleash suffering on motorists and Nigerians in the name of fuel scarcity.
It declared that henceforth any marketer found to be hoarding petroleum products would face the full weight of the law.
Government maintained there is more than enough fuel supply in the country to last at least one month.
It regretted the ongoing deliberate hoarding the product by unscrupulous elements in a bid to sell for scandalous prices.
Presidential spokesman, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, who fielded questions from State House correspondents in Abuja last night, on the current fuel crisis acrossthe country, said there was nothing wrong with governmentâ€™s position on the need for the deregulation of the downstream industry.
â€œWhat has been happening is a shame and it all goes to highlight why the market has to be taken away from the grip of some opportunists who feed fat on our collective misery as a nation.
â€œAs I am talking to you right now, I am aware that the NNPC has distributed within the country a stock of PMS enough to last 45 days even if everyone decides to fuel their cars everyday but these people are hoarding the commodity and in the process selling for scandalous prices,â€, he stated.
Although he said government believed strongly that the planned deregulation of the downstream sector was in the interest of the common good, he gave assurance that it would not resort to the past method of midnight changing of pump price without concluding the on-going consultations with all the critical stakeholders on the issue of deregulation.
According to him, President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua had always believed that the interest of the people would be better served and their welfare enhanced when their collective buy-in was secured on government policy,
He added that, â€œon this issue, it is difficult to think of more important stakeholders than labour and that is why the President insists that they be carried along in the exercise.â€