As fuel scarcity bites harder in the Enugu metropolis, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), yesterday sealed five filling stations in Enugu and forced other stations to sell Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol at the official pump price of N145 per litre.
The DPR enforcement officer, Mr. Clastus Obodochi, who led the operation yesterday told Daily Sun that the stations were sealed up for hoarding fuel and refusing to revert to government approve price, diversion of product, among others.
Obodochi said one of the stations sealed up yesterday, MRS on Okpara Avenue, Enugu, was allegedly hoarding the product, noting that other ones have been shutdown within the week in the various parts of Enugu.
He noted that there are three major problems facing the country today; which included fuel scarcity, hoarding of the product and hike in price.
“The major problem now is the scarcity of the product which is our responsibility to avoid scarcity because scarcity leads to hike in price and the second issue is hoarding of the product. When marketers hoard product and are not selling to the public it causes a lot of stress in the system and the economy.
“So, we do our best to make sure that marketers don’t hoard their product and those caught hoarding will be forced to sell off their product and those who are selling above the official pump price of N145 per litre are forced to change the price and anyone that refuses will be fined.”
According to Obodochi, “we received a call from a motorist accusing the MRS on Okpara Avenue, Enugu of hoarding petroleum products and we mandated the manager, operation to come here and ensure that the station start selling to the general public.
“When we got there we were told that the manager travelled and because he was not around, they were not able to sell. It is against our operations that once you have product you must dispense to the public, especially now that we are battling the issue of scarcity of the product. So because the manager was not around we have to seal the station till when he/she returns.”
Obodochi said that the DPR was trying to avoid regular sealing of petrol stations, noting that “when you seal a station that has product, you are shorting the supply of the product to the public and thereby creating queues in other fuel stations that are selling the product.”
Investigations revealed that most of the filling stations owned by independent and major marketers have no fuel and the ones that have products are selling between N250 and N300 depending the location.