As the scarcity of petrol persists, the Federal Government has directed two of its agencies to sanction marketers who have subjected the citizens to unnecessary hardship.
It accused the marketers of capitalising on panic buying by customers to hoard and divert petroleum products.
It mandated the Department of Petroleum Resources and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency to penalise those that were found wanting.
The directive was given by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, according to a statement made available to our correspondent by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
“The minister has directed the DPR and the PPPRA to sanction any marketer found hoarding, diverting or selling products above regulated prices,” the statement read in part.
The NNPC called on members of the public to shun panic buying and stock-piling of petrol, stressing that it had enough stock of the product to keep the country wet for two months.
The corporation put the current stock of premium motor spirit in its depots across the country at 1.9 billion litres.
The NNPC also appealed to tanker drivers, who had stopped hauling fuel from depots in the coastal states to the northern part of the country for fear of being caught in post-election violence, to return to work, adding that it was working closely with security agencies to provide maximum security for the transporters.
It advised members of the public to “discountenance rumours or insinuations of petrol scarcity as all issues relating to the importation of fuel by marketers have been resolved and the Petroleum Pipelines and Marketing Company has released a huge volume of petrol into the market.”
However, the queues by motorists at the few filling stations selling petrol in Abuja grew longer on Wednesday.
Right in front of the headquarters of the NNPC, long queues of motorists were observed at the Total and Conoil filling stations.
At the NNPC’s largest mega-station in the city, hundreds of motorists besieged the outlet although they spent less time in the queues compared to some days ago.
Sources at the corporation told our correspondent that the government was meeting with the marketers and gave an assurance that the scarcity would be addressed before the end of the week.