The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment on Thursday sealed two dispensing pumps of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and Diesel of Shema filling station in the FCT for surcharging motorists.
The ministry also sealed a part of a private cement depot in Idu, FCT, after an inspection due to distribution and sale of some bags of cement at 44kg per bag against 50kg.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Alhaji Abubakar Dangaladima, the Director, Department of Weight and Measures of the ministry, with his team of inspectors sealed the filling stations’ pumps and cement deport during surveillance.
The inspected filling stations located along the Airport Road, Abuja, are NIPCO, MRS, Dan Oil, Saddi Kemil, Emadeb Energy and Shema.
At SHOPRITE, also along the Airport Road Abuja, the inspecting team found the accuracy of scales at its pastry, butchery and grocery points good, but directed the management to rectify two faulty scales discovered.
Speaking after the inspection, the director noted that generally all the filling stations it inspected were good except the Shema filling station which he approved to be sealed because of surcharging.
“More importantly, we are yet to see their letter of certification, they were given a bill, which they have not paid, which means government revenue is being delayed.
“Secondly, the station is surcharging Nigerians by overcharging motorists who are using the station, and that is not allowed by our act,’’ he added.
He noted that the station would be sealed for 28 days under monitoring by its officers during which the problem was expected to be rectified, conforming to the directive given to it, which would lead to unseal.
“If not, it will remain closed for a month after which we will take them to court,’’ he said.
On the sealed cement depot, he said anyone found bridging the instructions would be taken to the court.
Dangaladima said the surveillance was to ensure that the pumps, scales and metering in filling stations, departmental stores and companies were not faulty and were dispensing and measuring accurately, giving the public value for their money.
“Many people use vehicles and generators, which use petrol always, if we find anything going contrary to our justification we are not going to allow it,’’ he warned.
He explained that the department has an act, rules and regulations empowering it to act and prosecute erring companies in collaboration with its legal department.
He further noted that it was trying to review its act, which was enacted 20 years ago with small amount being charged for such offences and not enough to punish people to stop.
“Part of what we are doing is to make sure that the fees charged are jacked up to serve as a big punishment to defaulters. Once we review the act, we can now recommend high fines for offenders.
”We have to follow the procedure, through the National Assembly to make sure that it is amended,’’ he said.
In an overview, the director said the department had a duty to embark on surveillance yearly to check activities of its field officers and confirm whether their reports were actual.
“We have officers nationwide. Traditionally we are starting the surveillance from Abuja; afterwards, teams will be dispersed to various states to make sure that Nigerians are not surcharged.
“We have to make sure that Nigerians get value for their money. We did it last year and there was tremendous revenue generated for the government,’’ he said.