The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), has promised to protect Nigerians from extortionist tendency of some unpatriotic marketers of petroleum products in Anambra.
Mr Okiemute Akpomudjere, Operations Controller, Awka Area office of DPR said this when he led a surveillance team to enforce the new government price of N125 per litre of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) on Friday.
Akpomudjere, who was represented by Mr Victor Ojiakor, Manager Operations, said marketers in Anambra must operate under the rules guiding the sector or face the wrath of the law.
News Agency of Nigerian (NAN), reports that the DPR monitored sales at a good number of major and independent retail outlets where they forced erring marketers to reset their machines to N125 and also supervised sales.
NAN also reports that most filling stations were still selling at N145.
Akpomudjere said the regulatory agency was worried that the price review which was made to mitigate the pains of Nigerians at this time was being flouted, insisting that buyers of petrol must have the full value of their money.
He urged the general public to insist on buying at the new price and report cases of infringement to DPR.
“We have gone round Awka metropolis to see the level of compliance to the new approved pump price and also to enforce that it is obeyed here.
“From our visits, a few of them had adjusted but some were still selling at N145 but as our responsibility, we had to force them to change and sell at the new price regime which is a new policy.
“As a regulator, the DPR wants to see that the new price is respected, that customers enjoy the accruing benefit as envisaged by the federal government.
“We want to warn those who are still flouting the order within our area of operation to do the needful or face the sanctions which range from sealing off to withdrawal of operating licences,” he said.
Rev. Cannon Okey Okeke, who bought petrol at N125 said that was the first time he was buying at that rate.
Okeke commended the DPR and urged it to take the enforcement to other parts of the state where marketers ripped customers off.
“This is the first time I am buying petrol at N125 and that is because DPR is here, I want to commend them and urge them to come to Nnewi and help us there,” he said.
Another customer, Chief Emeka Agbapuonwu, said Nigerians should not wait to be forced before doing the right thing, adding that the regulator’s intervention was welcome.
Agbapuonwu, a lawyer, said, “at least I am now a beneficiary of the new price.
“I hope other states can do same, the DPR is doing well, but my worry is that the marketers can even begin to hoard fuel because of this; so, I call for sustained surveillance.
A marketer, who pleaded anonymity, said the enforcement should have waited until the outlets exhausted their previous stocks.
He said the price reduction would affect their profitability with which they service their debt obligations to their bank and called on federal government to help them stay in business.
NAN reports that fuel dealers in Anambra are notorious for hike in fuel prices and always created artificial scarcity during festive periods in order to sell at unacceptably prohibitive prices. (NAN)