The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Warri Zonal Office, has sanctioned over 95 erring petrol stations in Delta since fuel scarcity resurfaced in December 2017.
The Zonal Operations Controller, Mr. Antai Asuquo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Warri that the petrol stations were sealed over offences that include hoarding, over-pricing and diversion of products.
According to him, over 80 of the fuel stations were sanctioned between December 2017 and January 3, while 15 others were booked in the last one week by the regulatory agency.
He also said that two staffs of a fuel station in Warri were recently apprehended by the surveillance team for violating DPR seals’ rules.
The controller added that the culprits would be released and the station unsealed after the owner pays N1 million as penalty.
One station in Warri was sanctioned on Wednesday for diverting 38,000 litres of petrol, he said, stressing that it would pay N200 per litre of the volume as punishment.
The Controller said he led a group of surveillance officers to some depots in Koko, Warri North Local Government after monitoring some petrol stations in Warri and environs on Wednesday.
According to him, the aim is to ascertain the claim by petroleum marketers that they purchase the products above the government approved ex-depot price of N133.28k per litre.
Earlier, some petroleum marketers had told NAN in Warri that the landing cost of their product from the depots hovers between N167 to N178 per litre, and that it would be unwise for them to dispense at N145 per litre.
Asuquo, however, cautioned depot owners and marketers against hoarding, noting that it would be counter-productive to the economy.
“DPR have been monitoring and we will continue to intensify surveillance to ensure that marketers and depot owners comply strictly to the government approved pump prices.
“We have sanctioned over 80 erring petrol stations before and in the last one week, we have sealed additional 15 stations across the state for hoarding, over-pricing and diversion of products.
“We deploy two monitoring teams every working day to the field to ensure that we effectively covered all the Local Government Areas in Delta.
“We also revisit the already visited petrol stations to ensure they dispense at the approved pump price of N145 per litre to the consumers,” he said..
Asuquo urged depot owners to support government’s effort towards normalising the situation, adding that marketers should stop patronising depots that sell above approved price.
“We appeal to the depot owners to sell at the government approved price as the product is provided to them by the government, they should also sell directly to the marketers rather than the “bulk or third party,” Asuquo said.
He commended the Department of State Service (DSS) for its support and expressed confidence that the situation would soon be over.