By Udeme Akpan & Obas Esiedesa
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Wednesday, shut down many filling stations in Lagos, and Abuja, over various irregularities.
Mr Ayorinde Cardoso, Zonal Operations Controller, DPR, Lagos, confirmed the development after an inspection visit to eight filling stations located in Ikorodu Road, Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, and Ikeja areas of the state.
He said: “The stations sealed in Lagos were under dispensing and there are sanctions. They will have to, first of all, pay their sanctions and they will rectify their pumps to the acceptable standard.
“Then we will come back and re-evaluate the pumps before they can be allowed to reopen.”
He also said the intensification of routine surveillance by the DPR in Lagos was aimed at monitoring product price, quality, availability, pump efficiency as well as water ingress in some tanks.
Cardoso said the petrol stations inspected were selling fuel between N162 to N165 per litre which was the approved price band by the government.
“Routine surveillance is continuous and we are not the only one doing it. We have several teams going round in different places,” he said.
Cardoso advised members of the public against panic buying ahead of the forthcoming Easter Season, noting that there was product sufficiency in Lagos State.
Also, the Abuja Zonal office of DPR has cracked down on errant petrol stations in the nation’s capital for selling petrol above N170 per litre and for under dispensing to customers. The Federal Capital Territory, FCT, along with other major cities across the country had witnessed long queues at petrol stations following confusion over the pump price of petrol.
DPR during an operation on Wednesday sealed three petrol stations for various infractions bringing to eleven the number of such stations sanctioned in the past two days.
The Abuja Zonal Operations Controller, Mr Abubakar Buba who led the operation, said the department has increased its monitoring and surveillance activities to check sharp practices. Buba said the DPR was determined to ensure that filling stations operate by the rules and regulations governing the sector.
According to him, “This outing today is just a normal outing but this time around, we want to intensify the surveillance to make sure that filling station operators applied to the rules and regulations of their operations.
“We sanctioned about eight stations yesterday and today, three stations which you have seen also because of overpricing under dispensing of products and few that have safety issues”, he told journalists. While assuring consumers and motorists that there was sufficient petrol in the country to meet demand, he reiterated the Federal Government’s position that there was no immediate plan to increase the pump price of petrol.
He commended most filling station owners in Abuja for not hoarding the product, observing that “so far so good, there are no queues, we did not find any station hoarding but we discovered few infractions which we have noted down and they are going to pay the appropriate fine.
The DPR team visited six filling stations along the Kubwa-Kaduna Expressway. Some of the Stations include MRS Katampe, Conoil by Dawaki, Eterna, Oando, IBWAS, and A.Y. M Ashafa all on the same axis. MRS was sealed for hoarding of products, at OANDO, the gas plant was sealed for operating without a license while the IBWAS petrol station was sealed for selling petrol at N175 per litres to motorists.
Speaking to journalists, the Manager, MRS, Njor Ocholi explained that the station was not selling because it was undergoing maintenance.
“We are not hoarding products, for about four months now, we have not been operating because we did not renew our license. “We just started operations last week and noticed that we have a faulty tank that is why we are undergoing this maintenance. We will contact DPR immediately we finish work”.