A major dealer of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital sealed up and fined by Petroleum Products Monitoring Committee (PPMC) for selling the product above N145 government-approved price tricked the committee into collecting the fine on Saturday to resume normal sales, StraightNews has learnt.
Rain Oil along Abubakar Atiku Street in Uyo caught by PPMC for selling PMS at N180 a litre to customers was closed on Saturday, but its management readily raised N100,000 fine and paid to the committee only to resume sales after few minutes.
The PPMC led by Essien Esema, its Chairman, who was on a routine inspection visit to filling stations in the state, had visited the filling station to discover that Rain Oil, a major oil marketer was selling the product above the approved oil pump price, and consequently ordered for its closure.
StarightNews discovered that after this, Esema and his team visited NNPC Mega Station along Ikot Ekpene Road in Uyo, but could not visit Oando, Totalfina and Mobil among other major marketers that have not reopened their filling stations to sell the product to teeming customers.
Investigations by StraightNews revealed that some major marketers and other filling stations in the state are capitalizing on the cluelessness of the PPMC by hoarding the product to sell to unsuspecting customers and members of the public at exorbitant price.
Unfortunately, the fuel hike continues unabated as a litre is sold from N190 to N250 depending on where the product is found.
Meanwhile, Esema has directed major petroleum marketers in the state to revert the pump price of petrol to N145 government-approved rate as part of measures to quell the looming hike in prices of petroleum products in the state.
Esema, who led the enforcement team during the monitoring exercise, gave the directive on Saturday, during the monitoring exercise to enforce compliance on petroleum peddlers in Uyo.
He appealed to major marketers not to aggravate the biting economic situation in the country, especially at a time that Christians are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
The chairman said Governor Udom Emmanuel was passionate to ensuring that the long queues witnessed in fuel stations and hardship experienced by the citizens in getting the products are over.
He called on the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, to play their role by ensuring that private depots abide by the rules to address incessant scarcity of fuel and price increase, especially at the end of every year.
Esema, thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel for giving his office support to perform the onerous task of enforcing compliance of petroleum marketers across the state, he also commended his staff for their loyalty and patriotism even without pecuniary measures, adding that they have performed their duties creditably.
At the NNPC Mega Station, the PPMC Chairman ensured the long queue and chaotic situation was brought under control for motorists to buy the product orderly.
Esema promised to reinforce adequate security to the station to maintain orderliness, and assured them of measures to make a case on their behalf to NNPC headquarters at Abuja, to restore the faulty pumps, saying “if we get these pumps all functioning, the queues will be reduced drastically.”
Mr. Raymond Abia, the sales manager, NNPC Mega Station, Uyo, assured the Governor’s aide that there were enough petroleum products to cater for the need of people in Uyo and its environs during and after the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Abia appealed to the State government to provide the mega Station with adequate security to help contain influx of customers who sometimes, become impatient, unruly and difficult to control.
Some motorists who spoke with journalists narrated their ordeals, particularly coming out as early as 5 a.m. to queue for fuel at NNPC Mega station where the product is sold at N143, appealing to government to involve more security to restore orderliness.