The Department of Petroleum Resources, Port Harcourt Zone, said it had so far sealed off 33 filling stations for their involvement in unwholesome practices.
The Zonal Operations Controller, Port Harcourt, Mrs. Chioma Njoku, who disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Port Harcourt, said the filling stations were sealed for under-dispensing, overpricing and hoarding of fuel.
Njoku explained that the DPR, in collaboration with the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, also impounded four trucks laden with premium motor spirit (petrol).
She added that the product, which was meant for a filling station in Etche Local Government Area of Rivers State, was diverted to Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
The zonal operations controller disclosed that over 4,000 rubber containers belonging to illegal fuel hawkers in the state were impounded by the DPR with the assistance of NSCDC operatives.
Njoku warned that the DPR would continue to clamp down on those involved in diversion, hoarding, underpricing and under-dispensing of petroleum products.
According to her, “This exercise has been ongoing in the last few days. We visited 231 filling stations in all. Some filling station owners shut down their stations when they heard we were coming around.
“We had to seal off 33 of the stations with products that were shut down because they heard DPR officials were coming there. We are aware that there is a lot of sabotage going on out there in the market. There has been a challenge with the distribution of petroleum products.
“The DPR in collaboration with other agencies has been working round the clock to ensure that we address four main issues. The four main issues are diversion, hoarding, overpricing and under-dispensing.
“All of these four vices are aimed at cheating the public and the DPR stands against it. In collaboration with all the stakeholders in the value chain, the DPR has stepped up the ante in the past few days.”
Njoku explained that the DPR had zero tolerance for diversion, under-dispensing, overpricing and hoarding of petroleum products, maintaining that marketers selling fuel to hawkers would be dealt with.
She pointed out that it was in the interest of fuel hawkers to shun the illicit business, adding that storing of petroleum products in unlicensed places could lead to fire outbreak.
“We beg those selling petrol in jerry cans or rubber containers to stop because it is dangerous storing petroleum products in unlicensed places,” she appealed.