By Patrick Anaso
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), has sealed four filling stations in Anambra for suspected diversion and selling of petrol above N145 as approved by the Federal Government.
Mr Callistus Obodoechina of the Retail Outlets and marketing Unit, DPR Enugu office, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Awka on Sunday.
NAN reports that the affected stations are located in Nkwelle-Ezunaka, Awkuzu, and Nkpor.
Obodoechina said three of the sealed filling stations refused to revert to the approved price when directed by the agency, while one was suspected to have diverted the product to another location.
He said the field monitoring exercise was targeted at marketers, whose names were contained in the DPR manifest as having procured product.
The DPR official regretted that in spite of the numerous warnings, enforcement and media campaigns against violating price and diversion of petroleum products, marketers were adamant to frustrate the system.
Obodoechina said the DPR would continue its round the clock monitoring and enforcement to ensure that marketers played by the rules, while recalcitrant ones were disciplined.
“DPR is not relenting on ensuring that normalcy is restored, we are monitoring price and we are monitoring supply.
“We monitored sales where we forced them to sell at the government approved rate of N145, and three of them refused to revert, so we sealed them off.
“One filling station was also sealed for suspected diversion, investigation would be conducted and if the operator is culpable, appropriate sanctions would be applied.
“But more importantly, we would ensure that customers got products at the normal rate by making sure that a number of marketers sold the products at N145, the rule is that if a marketer cannot sell at the normal rate, he should better not buy,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), said the action of the DPR though necessary, would not solve the problem of hike in the price of petrol.
Chief Ikechukwu Nwankwo, the Chairman of IPMAN, Enugu Depot said there was the need to address the fundamental cause of the problem which was scarcity.
Nwankwo warned his members not to engage in sharp practices, including hoarding of products, as anyone caught in the act would not be protected by the association.
“There is scarcity of products, harassing marketers with the DPR cannot solve the problem, if there is product, all the NNPC mega filling stations and mini filling stations will have fuel and naturally the marketers will fall in line.
“Our refineries should be made to work, if they are working optimally, we cannot be talking of importation and as far as we are relying on importation, we will continue to have this problem.
“Whoever is diverting product is doing so at his own peril, it is between him and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
“Any person that loads products should take it to the intended destinations, discharge it there and dispense it there,’’ he said. (NAN)