NIGERIA: Kaduna fuel marketers snub DPR authority

KADUNA – Many petrol stations that did not have petrol days back, now have the product, but sold above the official pump price of N97 per litre.
Saturday Vanguard’s investigation Wednesday revealed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation  (NNPC)  and few mega filling stations which had fuel sold at the official pump price, thus attracting very long queues. But the Independent Marketers have defied control and sold fbetween N110 per litre and N132 per litre.
Meanwhile, black marketers displayed their wares unabashed in front of filling stations selling to desperate buyers at N160 to N180 per litre, with no authority challenging them.
In the northern part of the city, from Station round-about to Kawu, the situation has improved as most of the filling stations sold fuel, but the long queues have  only marginally decreased.
In the Southern part, particularly Kakuri and Sabon Tasha-Maraban Rido axis, the situation seemed less grim in terms of queues, but the shylock practices of Independent Marketers remained  the same as at Wednesday.
The Kaduna Petrol Refinery and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), which produces N2 million litres of PMS daily, and mandated to satisfy Kaduna state and its immediate environs has not stopped production, Saturday Vanguard had confirmed.
“The problem is that, as soon as there is fuel  scarcity, perceived or real, marketers start their antics”, an official of the KRPC who requested that his name not be mentioned, told our Correspondent.
“They either divert the product to the areas of scarcity and sell to second parties at high rates or they start systematic hoarding through the use of one or two dispensing points, thus creating queues, which in turn inspire panic buying”, he said. “There is no excuse for whatever reason for fuel scarcity in Kaduna, because everyday, not less than 300 trucks are loaded here with petrol”, he said.
But the branch of government armed by law to police the sales of fuel and sundry matters seemed incapacitated or was in collusion with the racketeers. But the acting Public Relations Officer if the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mallam Rabiu Bello, told Journalists yesterday that the Department was “on top of the situation”.
He claimed that they have shut down 17 filling stations for various offences.  He said that they were in continued monitoring of erring filling stations,
and pleaded with the public to give the DPR information on any  person or filling station breaking the rules.
But, his claims could not be further than the truth. For example, from Kawu, the northern fringe of Kaduna metropolis to Zaria, and Makarfi about 65 and 100 km away respectively, not a single filling station sold fuel below N110 per litre, according to Saturday Vanguard survey.
The same applied, to the Southern part of the state. From Kafanchan, about 240km away to Maraban Rido,  there were absence of queues, but all the filling stations sold far above N97 per litre.
In Maraban Rido, the average pump price was N130 per litre.
Also, the nefarious activities of rough looking lads, used for selling fuel at forbidden prices right in the open and all over the state, could not be said not to have been noticed by the DPR.
The Director of DPR, George Osahon, who was in Kaduna last week for the on-the-spot assessment, indeed decried the situation, and said it was unjustifiable.
“There should be no reason for long fuel queues in Kaduna, because the KRPC is fully producing to serve these areas”, he said.
He lamented that there was not enough synergy between relevant agencies, but nonetheless gave his boys to go ahead and deal with any defaulter.
But at the time of sending this report, that order was poorly executed.

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