*NNPC GMD, Dr Maikanti Baru (middle) dispensing free fuel to motorists in Abuja during the raid.
In a bid to curb diversion of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) by unscrupulous marketers, a team monitoring fuel distribution made up officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has intensified its clampdown on illegal filling stations known for receiving diverted products and selling same to motorists at cut-throat prices in Abuja and environs.
So far, between yesterday and today, seven of such stations along the Kubwa and Airport Road axes of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, have been clamped down with the petrol found in their storage tanks dispensed free of charge to motorists by members of the team led by the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru.Speaking during the raid on an unnamed filling station in Byazhin community, Kubwa, a suburb of Abuja, which was caught red-handed selling petrol at
N250 per litre, the GMD said such stations were being used to divert products meant for legal filling stations and warned all such illegal marketers to desist from being used to sabotage the efforts of the government to make fuel available to all Nigerians at the approved price.“I want to warn marketers who have refused to heed our advice, especially those operating at night, that the law will catch up with them very soon. The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have commenced monitoring of such stations. Just yesterday (Tuesday), we identified some defaulting stations and we are going to impound their products and dispense it free to motorists,” Baru stated.He said about 24 trucks laden with petrol meant for Abuja were diverted to some states in the south eastern part of the country, adding that the defaulting marketers have been identified and would be sanctioned accordingly.The follow-up raid of illegal filling stations on the Airport Road axis took the team to Bassa Jiwa community behind the Abuja Airport where three errant stations were shut down with products in their storage also dispensed free of charge to motorists.At one of the stations, McManakai Global Services, the team found 39,000 litres in its storage tank which it was selling to motorists at N240 per litre as against the approved price of N145 per litre. The GMD also reiterated the Corporation’s determination to end the artificial scarcity by increasing fuel truck out across the country. “What we are doing is to maximize the daily truck out to Abuja and other cities. Yesterday, we had about 114 trucks that dispatched products to Abuja as against 70 to 80 trucks earlier received daily. As at Monday, we had loaded about 230 trucks for Abuja. When they arrive and with the 24-hour operations in place, we should be able to eliminate most of the queues,” Dr. Baru enthused.Speaking on the raid on illegal filling stations, the Abuja Zonal Operations Controller of DPR, Mr. Abdu Abba Misau, said some of the operators of the errant filling stations were earlier directed to revert to N145 but decided to ignore the advice, adding that the NSCDC would arrest and prosecute the perpetrators appropriately.He warned motorists to desist from patronizing such illegal stations to avoid damage to their vehicles as one of the stations raided was found with adulterated petrol.On his part, the Assistant Commandant-General, Operations of the NSCDC, Mr. Aminu Kofar Soro, stated his men were well prepared for the task, adding that so far 25 arrests had been made and large number of trucks impounded.Today’s operation, saw the clampdown of three stations at Bassa Jiwa village behind Abuja Airport and another station at Sauka Village along Airport Road, with a combined stock of 66, 500 litres of petrol.