The Ministry of Petroleum Resources has instructed the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to distribute petrol of any filling stations involved in hoarding to customers free of charge. Dr Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, announced this during his tour and monitoring of fuel stations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) . He said that the decision became necessary given the attitude of some filling stations to hoard fuel to the detriment of the masses. “I have instructed DPR as they proceed on monitoring that any station that has the product and they are hoarding, they should sell all the products for free to customers.
Kachikwu also directed a 24-hour service operation by fuel stations, to serve Nigerians better. I am instructing NNPC retail stations to stay open for 24 hours; the police will provide protection for them. He noted that marketers who involved in sharp practices would also face heavy sanction. We are going to impose very serious penalty to the fuel station. So selling their products is not the answer, it is penalising them when they do this. I hope the message goes out loud and clear. I urge Nigerians to be patient, stop panic buying; there is product for everybody,“ he said.
Major fuel stations should move in and supply products and take responsibility for their stations just like we are taking responsibility for our own retail stations. He said the current fuel queues playing out in the country could also be attributed to panic buying, noting that NNPC had made available adequate petrol to serve Nigerians. Kachikwu added that the queue in the stations could also be attributed to the pipelines not being able to pump effectively. He said measures had been put in place to activate some of the pipelines. He also said that the delay in the process of releasing the approved subsidy money for oil marketers had limited the ability of some individuals to import fuel into the country.
He, however, added that processes were being finalised by the National Assembly and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release the approved money. The minster also said that in spite of the availability of petrol for supply in the country, the issue of moving out trucks out of the Apapa area of Lagos was also a a challenge. “But we are moving trucks massively; most of the stations have products right now; it is just a matter of time, things will return to normal. Plans are on ground to arrest the situation; we expect that in next couple of days some of the queues you have currently will go away; I urge Nigerians to be patient. DPR is monitoring the process, to ensure that all pump lines are open and we will continue to monitor them. We are working on the technical and supply side." The minister also debunked the rumor making the rounds that there were plans to reduce the price of petrol.
The minister, accompanied by officials of NNPC subsidiaries, inspected some fuel stations in the FCT. Some of the stations monitored included NNPC mega station Gossa on Airport Road, Forte Oil in Maitama and Conoil in Central Business District.