In an apparent move to restore normalcy in the supply of petrol at the officially approved rate and ensure availability of the product across the country, in the face of lingering petrol scarcity, the officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) have raided some filling stations along Lekki-Epe/Victoria Island axis, shutting down those hoarding the product and arrested some fuel attendants including black marketers.
EnergyDay gathered that the ongoing raid on filling stations in the Lekki/Ajah/VI axis started on Wednesday and reports showed that the officials of DSS, in the early hours of Thursday, raided some stations in Victoria Island, Lagos.
The DSS had in December 2022, issued a 48-hour deadline to all operators in the petroleum products supply value chain to ensure the availability of petrol at an officially approved rate across the country or be ready to face the consequences of their actions.
As of the time when the ultimatum was issued, there was relative relief in the petrol supply chain, although commuters got the product at different prices, but long queues had disappeared.
The situation has escalated in recent times thereby crippling business activities across major cities in the country.
For instance, most filling stations in the Lagos metropolis are selling at around N260/litre, N300/litre and above the official rate, while some filling stations owned by major marketers sell at N187/litre with long queues extending to major highways.
The fuel scarcity which has therefore worsened in January 2023, has extended to all parts of the country, as long queues and waste of productive hours in filling stations are the new norms in Nigeria with no relief in sight.
This new action by the DSS, especially with the clampdown on stations hoarding the product, has forced most filling stations in the Lekki/Ajah/VI axis to open up their stations and sell to motorists, thereby reducing the long queues spreading into Lekki- Epe highway.
According to our correspondent, the DSS officials also arrested some petrol black-market operators who displayed their fuel kegs along some strategic points on the Lekki highway.
The officials of DSS visited filling stations in Eleko, Ibeju Lekki, Chisco, Jakande and other parts of the Lekki-Ajah axis. This move has scared other filling stations in the entire axis, who have now opened their station gates wide to sell to customers between N189/litre and N230/litre.
Dr. Peter Afunanya, Spokesman for the DSS, was not available to confirm the raid, but many Nigerians have been calling on the Service to extend their operations to other parts of the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday approved the constitution of a 14-man committee, chaired by him, to immediately end the petrol scarcity nightmare.
Members of the Committee are the Minister of Finance and Permanent Secretary; Ministry of Petroleum Resources, National Economic Adviser to the President, Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), Comptroller-General, Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Member (EFCC), and Commandant-General, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The Steering Committee was made up of the Authority Chief Executive, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission; Nigerian Midstream and Member Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA); Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Group Chief Executive Officer, NNPC Limited, Special Advisor (Special Duties) to the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources while the Technical Advisor (Midstream) to the Minister of State Petroleum Resources will serve as Secretary.