From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji has directed all filling stations across the state to start selling fuel within the approved price or risk being shut down indefinitely.
Consequently, the Governor has mandated the State Task Force on Petroleum Product and security agencies in the state to move round filling stations, starting from Wednesday morning to enforce the directive.
Governor Oyebanji handed down these directives during a meeting he held with the leadership of the National union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), members of the state task force and heads of security agencies in the state at the Governor’s office, Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday.
He directed the task force to visit all filling station and seal off any filling station that is hoarding petroleum product, or selling at an unauthorised price, or found to have manipulated their meters. This is after the task force might have supervised the sale of such hoarded product to the public.
He also directed the security agencies to provide adequate security for the task force to ensure the success of the task.
The marketers who apologised on behalf of their erring members, promised to deploy their own task force to ensure compliance with the Governor’s order, even as they promised to cooperate with the State Task Force and the state government to ensure that the petroleum product are available.
The Governor who appealed to the marketers to await further directives form the Federal Government on the planned subsidy removal, said it would amount to sheer wickedness for anyone to hoard the product or unilaterally increase the price of petroleum product before the full implementation of the policy.
“We will not sit here and allow some people make life difficult for our people. The subsidy removal has not been effected. Any filling station hoarding fuel or selling at unauthorised prices would be sealed indefinitely. The Task force and the security agents will go out Wednesday morning. I have called this meeting so we can both look at the situation together because any filling station that is sealed will remain so till the end of the year.
“ No station has the right to hoard fuel. If they did not give you fuel or you have exhausted your supply, we will understand and nobody will blame you for not selling fuel” the Governor said.
Governor Oyebanji disclosed that state governors, under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) will meet on the issue of the planned subsidy removal next week, adding that Ekiti would not tolerate any attempt by any marketer to inflict hardship on the people through hoarding and unauthorised hike in price.
Present at the meeting were the Commissioner of Police, Ekiti State Command, Ogundare Emmanuel; Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Brigadier-General Ebenezer Ogundana (rtd), Director of State Security Service, Head of Service, Barrister Bamidele Agbede, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Mr Yinka Oyebode and other top government officials.