The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on Monday blamed commercial drivers for allegedly aiding and abetting fuel black marketers activities in Abuja.
The Abuja DPR Zonal Head of Operations, Mrs Muinat Bello-Zagi, made the allegation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Bello-Zagi, who was reacting to the recurrence of petrol scarcity in Abuja and its environs, said that selling fuel into Jerry cans was always discouraged whenever there was shortage in supply.
She said some taxi drivers and motorcyclists who want to make quick money always syphon fuel to black marketers who sell on the streets.
According to her, the presence of those who sell fuel on the street triggers panic buying which some unscrupulous marketers always take advantage to rip off innocent motorists.
She said some marketers always use the occasion to hoard and under-dispense the products to motorists who were desperate to get fuel at all cost.
Bello-Zagi said that on many occasions, the DPR with the security agencies had raided black spots where black marketers thrived in a bid to dislodge them.
She said that the agency had five monitoring and surveillance teams monitoring marketers every day to discourage hoarding.
“We have designed mechanisms to monitor the activities of marketers and also put in place checks and balances to know if they are hoarding or not.
“Anyone caught is handed over to the appropriate quarters to face the wrath of the law,” she said.
The Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers, Taxi Drivers Unit, Abuja, Mr Lawrence Fadipe, refuted the claim.
Fadipe told NAN on telephone that members of his union were exonerated from the allegation, saying that “taxi drivers were too busy to get themselves engaged in such business.
“The issue of black market operations starts and ends with the fuel attendants and marketers at different filling stations and the black marketers.
“The fuel attendants and marketers always connive to sell fuel to black marketers at odd hours, instead of dispensing to motorists who wait endlessly to get the product”. (NAN)