February 25, 2024

Petrol Scarcity : NMDPRA, JTF raid illegal petroleum product sellers in Abuja


Oredola Adeola

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) in collaboration with the Joint Task Force on Petrol keg Peddlers on Tuesday raided and arrested some illegal petroleum products sellers to sanitise the industry.
The members of the petrol keg peddlers’ Task Force were selected   from the Nigerian Police Force, Departments of State Security Service, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigerian Correctional Centre, the Military, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and Mobile Court.
The monitoring and enforcement by the joint NMDPRA/Task Force was in the backdrop of the prolonged fuel scarcity in Abuja and other parts of the country.
During the raid, the team seized over several litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), Diesel from illegal peddlers.
The team, during the exercise, stormed some illegal areas for dispensing petroleum products, uncovered hidden storage tankers and seized containers containing diesel and PMS stored in different litres of petrol kegs from the black-marketers.
Some areas raided by the team included Central Business District, near TotalEnergies fuel station, AZMAN filling station area, close to Police Headquarters, Area II, AYA and Area 3.
The team also seized and arrested the operator of an illegal tanker and dispenser of petroleum products, located at Central Business District, near a popular hotel in Abuja and being operated by one,  Mr Emos Waga, who claimed to be licenced.
Mrs Abdulkadir Maijiddah, Abuja Regional Coordinator, NMDPRA, said the monitoring and enforcement was an ongoing nationwide exercise and would continue to sanitise the industry.
Maijiddah said that it was only licenced entities that were supposed to distribute and sell petroleum products and anyone who wished to be a player in the industry must follow due process.
“We go out everyday to carry out this raid with AEPB and other security agencies. It is a collaborative effort.
“As we are all aware there is fuel scarcity everywhere, we want to see that every peddler is taken off the street.
“What we just saw now is unbecoming of anybody. This product is highly volatile and then they had the audacity to hide themselves here claiming to be licenced, while they are not.
“And, they are selling these products illegally, they are not supposed to be on the street peddling petroleum products whether regulated or not,” she said.
Speaking on the filling stations that dispense fuel to the black markers, the coordinator warned that any station found guilty would be usually sanctioned, fined and sealed.
The Coordinator said that the team has the mandate to arrest the station manager and seal the station once found guilty.

Mr Kaka Bello, Assistant Director, Monitoring and Enforcement, AEPB, said those caught would be prosecuted and face the wrath of the law.
He added that security agencies, especially the military personnel were also being invited to handle the matters if found complex.
“Even if there is a licence to sell petroleum products, there must be standards for one to operate within. You cannot occupy a road corridor, selling products, even if you are licensed,” he said.