The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has directed the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR not to seal off any petrol station but instead to auction petroleum products of any marketer found to be hoarding petroleum products at this time.
Dr Kachikwu, who took a monitoring tour of petrol stations in the federal capital, said that the NNPC was deploying all its available resources to bring down the heightening panic buying and appealed to Nigerians to be patient as they bring the situation under control.
According to him “I have instructed DPR as they proceed on monitoring that any station that has the product and they are hoarding, they should sell all the products for free to customers. He noted that marketers who involved in sharp practices would also face heavy sanction.
“We are going to impose very serious penalty to the fuel station. So selling their products is not the answer, it is penalising them when they do this.
“I hope the message goes out loud and clear. I urge Nigerians to be patient, stop panic buying; there is product for everybody.“ he said.
Kachikwu also directed a 24-hour service operation by fuel stations, to serve Nigerians better.
“I am instructing NNPC retail stations to stay open for 24 hours; the police will provide protection for them.
“Major fuel stations should move in and supply products and take responsibility for their stations just like we are taking responsibility for our own retail stations.”
He said the current fuel queues playing out in the country could also be attributed to panic buying, noting that NNPC had made available adequate petrol to serve Nigerians.
Kachikwu added that the queue in the stations could also be attributed to the pipelines not being able to pump effectively.
He said measures had been put in place to activate some of the pipelines.
He also said that the delay in the process of releasing the approved subsidy money for oil marketers had limited the ability of some individuals to import fuel into the country.
He, however, added that processes were being finalised by the National Assembly and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release the approved money.
The minister also said that in spite of the availability of petrol for supply in the country, the issue of moving out trucks out of the Apapa area of Lagos was also a a challenge.
“But we are moving trucks massively; most of the stations have products right now; it is just a matter of time, things will return to normal.
“Plans are on ground to arrest the situation; we expect that in next couple of days some of the queues you have currently will go away; I urge Nigerians to be patient.”