By Victor Ahiuma-Young with agency reports

Lagos — The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says it has set up a 24-hour special task force to supervise and monitor petrol sales at depots and stations.

fuel-pumpIt said the task force would sanction depots and stations selling above the recommended price.

Assistant Director, Public Affairs in DPR, Mrs Dorothy Bassey,  disclosed this in telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, yesterday.

Bassey said the special team was set up purposely for the Yuletide with powers to take over the sale of the product from those selling above the approved price.

She said the agency had met with stakeholders to convey government’s displeasure on illegal sale of petrol above the stipulated price and the long queues at the filling stations.

The DPR warned that those involved in the criminal act would henceforth lose their licence under the new steps being taken by agency to enforce discipline.

She said: “We have instituted 24-hour surveillance by special task force which we are not going to disclose their identity because we don’t want them to be harassed.”

Bassey said those selling petrol above the pump price were doing so at night. She said any station caught would be forced to sell at the official price “so that we don’t seal them to compound the scarcity.”

She said the agency had some dedicated numbers on its website through which Nigerians could send their complaints.

Meanwhile, some marketers, who preferred anonymity, told NAN that the ongoing petrol scarcity would persist as government had failed to address issue of foreign exchange hindering fuel importation.

They said that marketers were willing to import fuel, but scarcity of foreign exchange remained a serious challenge.

NUPENG blames NNPC, marketers for unabated fuel scarcity

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Union of Petroleum Workers, NUPENG, has accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the oil marketers of conniving to bring untold hardship to the populace, demanding that they tell Nigerians the truth about the cause of the fuel scarcity.

The union warned that the scarcity will not ease soon until the government holds a roundtable meeting of stakeholders to  address the matter squarely.

NUPENG  in a statement, yesterday, by its President, Mr. Igwe Achese,  insisted that it found it difficult to understand the continued scarcity of products, as its members were taking fuel to their destinations from the depots.

While debunking insinuations that members were involved in product diversion, the union called on the Federal Government to convoke a stakeholders’ conference to address the problem of product scarcity  for Nigerians to know the truth.

According to the statement, “NUPENG debunks the insinuation that its members are involved in fuel diversion, resulting into fuel scarcity. The allegation is false as its members are loading petroleum products to their destination.

“The persistent scarcity of fuel is being caused by the NNPC and oil marketers who are conniving and collaborating to bring untold hardship to the populace. We saw this prolonged scarcity of petroleum products coming and called for a stakeholders meeting of all bodies to brainstorm and proffer solutions to the challenge, but the NUPENG outcry was just in vain.”

“All efforts to convince the Federal Government and the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources to a roundtable to proffer solutions to this scourge was met with brick walls. The current fuel scarcity will be prolonged if this meeting is not convened to address the issue very well and end the unnecessary suffering on the masses of this country, who go out to queue for fuel, wasting productive man-hours in filling stations.

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