By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
The fuel scarcity and long queues in few filling stations across Kaduna State has led to a Joint Task Force operation to raid illegal filling stations hoarding fuel products in Zaria.
They comprise operatives from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of State Security (SSS), the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Journalists.
During the tour, many erring filling stations were discovered to have petrol hidden in their underground tanks and in trucks, while many others were selling above pump price of N215 and N250 per liter.
When visited FARMSKAN Petroleum Nigeria Limited with team of journalists which was on sealed on Wednesday with 11,000 liters of petroleum for selling above pump price at N215, has illegally broken the seal and sold 1,600 liters out of the 11,000 liters.
It was also discovered that they were shorting changing members of the public of 4 liter of every 10 liters they buy.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the raid, the Leader of the task force who is the Zonal Operations Controller of DPR, Kaduna Zone, Alhaji Tafida Isah affirmed that FARMSKAN will be suspended for three months and will pay fine of N200 for under-dispense including every short change they made against the general public.
He ordered FARMSKAN filling station to be unsealed and, forced to adjust their pump to government controlled price which made the motorist very happy.
Alhaji Isah also opined that every other earring filling stations will be sanctioned and later unsealed to allow the fuel to be sold to the public at government controlled price.
“FARMSKAN filling station was sealed yesterday (Wednesday) for selling above government controlled price, today we have discovered that they have broken our seal and sold 1,600 litres at N215, out of the 11,000 litres when it was sealed. We met 9,400 litres upon our follow up visit now.
“They will also be fined for under-dispensing and shall be made to pay a fine of N200 on each of the 1,600 litres sold while under seal.
“If you are caught selling above pump price, you will be fined N100, 000 per pump head and if you have 10 pumps then you will pay N1 million for them.
“If you are caught hoarding, it will be sold to the public and sanctioned appropriately and other filling stations caught hiding the products instead of sealing them, will be made to sell to the public at controlled price, in order to alleviate the suffering of the public” the official said.
However, the Manager of FARMSKAN filling station, Mallam Mukhtar Zailani denied that they are the owners of the station.
Also at MAMU Petrol Station at Gwargwaji, the task force discovered that they were hoarding about 3, 800 litres of petrol underground and 33,000 litre tanker loaded with kerosene without being dispense to the general public.
Alhaji Isah immediately ordered them to open their pump and start selling the product to the public at the government approved price.
“For you to keep 3,800 liters of fuel product underground while the member of the public needs this fuel there is no justification it.
“There will be sanction for MAMU after dispensing the products to the general public” he mentioned.
When asked the Manager why they are not selling, he said, the petroleum is only meant for their own use.
Also speaking, the Executive Director of Operations, Kaduna Refining and Petrochemicals Company Limited (KRPC) who led the NNPC team, Engineer Abba Bukar said the Crude Distillation Unit is back on stream and is currently operating at 60 per cent production capacity.
Contributing, the Kaduna State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Alhaji Modu Bunu disclosed that when he got the information about the filling stations hoarding and selling petroleum product about government controlled price, he alerted the NNPC and DPR, hence the need for the raid.
According to him, before the raid, the NSCDC had already made an arrested in some filling stations, adding that the most important is to cut the supply from the black marketers on the streets to ease the pain of the general public on long queues.