The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has sealed four filling stations in Anambra for alleged diversion of fuel.
The operators of two other outlets were reprimanded for selling the product above the recommended pump price of N145, while DPR officials forced five other stations to sell at the normal price.
The affected filling stations are located in Ogbunike, Onitsha, Nkpor, Obosi and Nnewi.
Fuel sells for between N185 and N200 per litre in Awka, Nnewi and Onitsha.
Speaking to journalists on Saturday, Mr Linus Ikegbunam, the Head of Safety, Environment and Health Department, DPR, who led a five-man enforcement team, said the marketers were suspected not to have discharged products meant for their stations accordingly.
Ikegbunam said the filling stations sealed for suspected diversion had the product designated for them as contained in their manifests.
He said DPR was worried over the rising cases of product diversion, especially at this time of supply challenges but assured that the agency was ready to combat the menace.
He wondered why a marketer who procured as much as between 40,000 and 50,000 litres of petrol would not sell to the people rather divert them to other locations.
He said the stations would remain closed until investigations were concluded on them and warned that those found culpable would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
“Selling above government approved price of N145 is an offence and that is why we enforced compliance at some stations. Those who are habitual offenders were also sealed and penalised,” Ikegbunam explained.
However, the marketer at Seaman’s Petroleum, Mr Geoffrey Anioke, said it had been difficult procuring products in the last two months, making it impossible to sell at the government approved price.
Anioke said selling petrol at N145, when the landing was between N165 and N170 was a huge loss for them.
He urged the Federal Government and the NNPC to supply enough petrol to eliminate the black market and artificial price increase.
“We get fuel from N165 to N170 at the moment and it is not possible to sell at N145 and forcing us to sell at that price is punishing us and driving us out of business.
“We are ready to serve the people and keep the economy going and that is why we are making extra efforts to have product, we expect government to address the shortage rather than making us suffer,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said the petrol supply and price situation deserved an urgent and lasting solution.
Mr Jerry Nnubia, Chairman of Anambra chapter of the NLC, told NAN that it was expected that the price of petrol would return to normal soon after the Yuletide period but the crisis had lingered.
He said the unofficial hike in the price of petrol was having a severe effect on the lives of Nigerians, especially workers.
“The Federal Government should ensure that the sector returned to normal through massive supply products.
“You are aware that petrol is the driver of every other sectors of the economy and you can see the suffering this hike has brought to the people.
“The labour is holding government responsible for what is happening because they are the only people that can save the situation,” he said. (NAN)