By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”Edo state government has concluded plans to prosecute owners of some filling stations in the state involved in alleged adulteration and diversion of petroleum products.
Accusing the managements of three petrol filling stations (names withheld) of being the brains behind the persistent scarcity of kerosene in the state, the government vowed to use all legal means to bring the perpetrators to book, because of what it described as the severe hardship their illegal action had brought upon the people of the state.
Chairman of the Petroleum Monitoring Committee, Lord Osunde, who addressed newsmen in Benin City yesterday, said it was the desire of the state government to ensure that petroleum products were made available to the people of the state at the amount stipulated by government. He noted, however, that members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in the state were frustrating their efforts.
According to him,Â “IPMAN wants to find a way of stopping us from their adulteration practice and their adjustment of pumps and that was why they went to court to stop us from checking them.
â€œIf you check IPMAN and check major dealers, take the case of Total which I always say has always been number one and Mobile, AP and Texaco, they have never engaged in such an act, but for that of IPMAN, I can specifically tell you, as I am talking to you now, one of the major king pins of adulteration and diversion of petroleum product is in our custody.”
â€œHe is part of our problem. Nochel, Asgolite and Laco. Those people are our problem and as I am talking to you now, these people are involved in adjustment of meters; they are also involved in complete adulteration.
â€œA lot of complaints have come from the filling stations. But like what we have said, we have sanctioned Nocheal. We have written to the depot manager and he has given us powers to sanction him and fine his filling station, because part of the scarcity of kerosene in Edo state is being done by Chief Osaghai, the Managing Director of Nocheal filling station.
â€œThe manager of Nocheal is in our custody because we sent letters to the MD, we appealed to him to report and he vowed that he will never come. But we are with the manager now and once he comes, we will discipline the filling station.
â€œWe have briefed the Attorney General of the state and very soon, we will take them to court for trying to frustrate the efforts of the state government. These people were selling above the recommended price until we stopped them, yet they refused to change.
â€œBut the Comrade governor has given directive that any body that tries to bring pains to the people of the state will face the music and that is what we are going to do.â€