By Yetunde Bada
Mr Mohammed Saidu, Head Public Affairs Unit of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says petroleum marketers diverted 129,000 liters of petrol from Abuja on Friday.
Saidu, who revealed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) after monitoring the stations, added that some of the erring filling stations had been given a total fine of more than N30.5 million.
According to him, more intelligence units are liaising with the public to get information for on-the-spot checks since the scarcity began.
Saidu said the products were diverted without the knowledge of security agents, who have no mechanism to check amount off loaded at filling stations.
”We now have an intelligence measure that ensures that even if one litre of petrol is diverted, the station is penalised. We have a way of tracing it.
”Through this means, we were able to get to Bulasawa, that remote area behind the National Assembly, and they diverted 13,000 litres and they have been issued a letter to pay N3.575 million to the TSA within one week before they will continue their business.
”Whatever products that were there, we allowed them to sell them off on the spot so we don’t compound the issue of scarcity.
”We also got to Oando on Olusegun Obasanjo Way, they also diverted 11,000 litres which means out of the three compartments of the 33,000 that was consigned to them, they took away one compartment.
”They have been issued a letter to pay about N12 million into the TSA.
”We got another station that diverted 15,000 litres and they have been written to pay N15 million to the TSA.
”We got to one station – Toniset, along the Zuba Junction. They applied for formal renovation, they are doing renovation and we were surprised they were given two full load trucks of products without any place to dispense the product.
”We had to trace the two trucks to PPMC to ask how they allocated products to a station that is under construction,” Saidu explained.
He further eplained that the truck diverted from Bulasawa, was traced to one of its stations on Kaduna Road.
”The remaining 33,000 litres as far as we are concerned was not allocated to that station, so it has to pay the N3.5 million fine.
”The essence of making it N275 per litre is because they lifted the products at the depot at about N133 per litre, and so we double it, meaning, in addition to losing the product indirectly to the government, you are also charged additionally and this is to serve as a deterrent and many marketers are getting jittery.
”If the PPMC consign products to only stations that have physical presence, we are sure the scarcity will end,” he said.
He said the department had visited about 360 stations in Abuja, out of which 157 were found to be selling.
”Those few that we found that had products that were not selling, we stationed our staff there to make sure they sell, and they are about 20 stations,” Saidu said.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had earlier blamed the current petroleum scarcity in the country on marketers of the product.
The Group Managing Director of the company, Dr Maikanti Baru, had repeatedly assured Nigerians that the queues would disappear by Saturday as it had a 25-day sufficiency.