By Akin Akande, Abuja
Hard times came the way of Petroleum Independent marketers who sell fuel above the Federal Government approved N97 pump price in Ogun State at the weekend, as combined enforcement team of Independent and Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and
Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) embarked on sensitization/enforcement exercise in the state.
The enforcement team during inspection to some petrol stations in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital forced down the fuel price to the approved N97 while some filling stations that negate the
decision were forcefully seal-off. The team of law enforcement agencies discovered at Fanimora petrol station at Saje area of the state that fuel was sold at N105 per litre, while Dambold sold for N100. At Fatgbems station, Car Wash area, fuel was sold at the rate of N110, while Conoil filling station sold at N120 per litre.
However, many filling stations having gotten wind of the operation of the enforcement hurriedly reversed their metre price to N97 or closed down their filling stations with the inscription “No fuel” to avoid the attention of the operatives. But some independent marketers hinged their grievances on their
inability to buy fuel from Mosimi NNPC depot, leaving them to lift fuel from private depots who sell to them at exorbitant prices.
According to them, “It is not in our own interest to sell fuel above the pump price, but how do we sell when we buy fuel at N98 per litre from these private depots, we have to make profit as well.
Another challenge they are facing, according to them was that many of them don’t have license to lift fuel directly, so they rely on some sub-stations that have license. “Even, many of us paid to NNPC depot in Mosimi, yet, we are not supplied fuel until we are asked to pay bribe in which is the business of the day now at Mosimi” a marketer who does not want his names mentioned disclosed.
“We have to keep our business going, and pay our staff salaries, we cannot sell at N97 if we must continue to make business and serve the consumers. The government should find something to do”.
Findings by ‘thepost’ revealed that only NNPC and TOTAL filling stations in the state are selling at the actual price.
Speaking shortly after the exercise, the Ogun State Co-ordinator, National Anti-Corruption Volunteer Corps (NAVC) an integrity promotion programme of the ICPC, Mr. Idris Abu told newsmen that, the exercise was to orientate Nigerians and Petrol stations owners on the need to complement effort of the federal government aimed at reducing fuel scarcity in the country.
Abu stated that, “we are only imploring them not to inflict hardship on the masses. The petrol stations must comply with the federal government directives to sell the PMS at N97, else, any filling station that default this directives, will be shut down completely.
“So far, so good, the sensitization exercise is to orientate the people and to assist the federal government in transforming the country and ensure that Nigerians enjoy the subsidy fund, we thank
some of them for complying, but we will still clamp down on the defaulters, but the exercise still continues”.
Also speaking, the Assistant Commandant, (Operations), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Mr. Olatunji Olayinka described the exercise as necessary at this time the nation is battling with vandalism and enjoined Nigerians to always request for receipt from any filling station that sells above the approved pump price and report same to the commission.
Meanwhile, the Head of ICPC, Oyo/Ogun states offices, Mr. Olusesan Olukile who coordinated the operation from the zonal office in Ibadan has urged Nigerians to support the fight against corruption, saying the NAVC is out to checkmate any corrupt practices within the society.