The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has commenced surveillance to ensure that fuel station operators complied with standards and regulations towards ensuring that consumers get their money’s worth.
DPR Operations Controller in charge of Sokoto Field Office, Muhammad Makera, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Sokoto on Wednesday that the department had intensified routine inspections in Sokoto and Kebbi states.
Mr Makera said the exercise was aimed at ensuring that stations operated with valid licence, complied with safety regulations, including proper fuel dispensing in accordance with government-stipulated control.
He said that during a routine inspection he led on Tuesday, some fuel dispensing machines were discovered to be shortchanging customers by selling above the stipulated prices displayed in the stations.
He said out of 11 fuel stations visited, three were sealed in Sokoto for under dispensing of premium motor spirit (PMS) and operating without safety compliance.
“Three stations were sanctioned for irregular or under dispensing of petroleum products below the displayed rates.
“The department conducts inspections at filling stations for proper operations with valid license; and adherence to safety rules,’’ Mr Makera said.
Mr Makera added that the exercise would continue across the states and called on consumers to report any suspicious sharp practice by any fuel station to the department for necessary sanctions to protect consumers’ interest.
He warned petroleum marketers to desist from such sharp practices, saying severe weight of the law awaited offenders.
The Officer explained that for each sealed fuel dispensing machine, the station would pay N100, 000 as fine before it would be allowed to continue operations.
Makera expressed dismay that most of the stations feigned ignorance of the Department’s regulations.
The Official said though most fuel stations were previously sanctioned for selling above the control price and diversion of products; the current trend of shortchanging customers was unacceptable.
While advising the public against panic buying, he said DPR’s surveillance teams were working assiduously to ensure adequate availability of fuel at regulated price of between N140 and N145 per litre.
Mr Makera also advised the public to refrain from the use of mobile phones and smoking cigarettes around filling stations for safety reasons.