Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
Many petrol stations were deserted on Wednesday as operatives of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) stormed the ancient city Wukari on Taraba state for a routine surveillance operation.
Our correspondent who followed the team reports that several pump attendants at petrol stations who were selling the product to costumers before the arrival of DPR officials, hurriedly shut down their facilities and took to their heels.
After visiting a few filling stations in the town, the news quickly spread about the presence of the DPR officials and most marketers deserted their stations to avoid inspection.
Mr Jeremiah Mashat, Operational Controller, Jalingo Field Office of the DPR who led the operation said that violation of DPR regulations would soon be a thing of the past in the area.
He said that their attitude implied that they had been doing the wrong thing and advised them to do the right thing before the long arm of the law will catch up with them.
He expressed the determination of the department to enforce its laws to the later.
According to him, “we will not relent in carrying out our lawful duties until the marketers fully comply with the rules governing the petrol business in the state.
“We will ensure constant inspection of the marketers to ensure that quality, quantity, safety and licensing rules are complied with”, he said.
At one of the filling stations that was Eloheem Oil Nigeria Ltd, that was earlier sealed by the DPR, one of the marketers was caught selling the product after DPR sealed up the station with its ‘seal order’ boldly pasted on one of the dispensing machines.
As a penalty for refusing to comply to the order of the Petroleum regulatory body, Mashat said Eloheem Nigeria Ltd will pay a fine of N1 million before the facility would be unsealed.
The controller said that some of the stations were dispensing at N152 per litre in Wukari, saying that such conducts were unacceptable.
He commended personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for providing adequate security cover for the operation.
He said that the department was reaching out to other security agencies and other relevant organisations to collaborate with them for efficient service delivery.
Ms Blessing Francis, the petrol attendant at Eloheem petrol station claimed that she took over from her colleague who did not inform her of the sealing order which was pasted boldly on the frontage of the petrol dispensing machine.
Francis also said that she was ready to comply with the order and stop selling as she would contact the manager of the facility who would meet with the officials of the department to sort out the matter.
Twelve fillings stations were sealed in Jalingo and Wukari for non compliance with safety guidelines, over pricing and other related offences.