The supply and price of petrol in Anambra State have worsened as customers now pay between N250 and N300 per litre in the state.
Most filling stations in Awka and its environs had the product but refused to dispense.
However, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) monitoring and enforcing the situation, compelled marketers to sell the product at the government regulated price if N145 per litre
The team, which came from Enugu Office, also sealed 12 filling stations, including an NNPC mega station for hoarding the product.
The team, led by Mr Daniel Atama, however, met stiff resistance at Stanel Service Station which set its meter at N145 but was not dispensing, in spite of the long queues of motorists who had waited for over 24 hours.
The DPR efforts to get the owners of the station to sell proved abortive as the manager said he would only sell at whenever he wished and would not take orders from DPR.
Atama subsequently placed a seal order on the station for hoarding the products but an official of the station pulled the seal off immediately and threw it away right before the DPR team.
The DPR agents, however, left the station to avoid a brewing crisis.
But reacting to the development, Mr Chris Orage, General Manager of the station, said he did not remove the seal placed by the DPR.
Orage said the station had limited products and was trying to manage the queue.
He denied defying the DPR orders because the station enjoyed support from some highly placed people in Anambra State government.
At NNPC Mega Station, the entrance was closed while motorists waited patiently for them to start dispensing.
The DPR, however, entered the station and demanded that the underground tank be dipped to check if the product was available.
The DPR sealed the station when the attendants refused to obey the instruction after which the manager was called on phone and directed that the officials be allowed to check if the product was available.
However, it was discovered that about 12,000 litres of petrol was available and DPR also ordered instant dispensing of the product.
One of the motorists at the mega station, Mr innocent Uzor, said they were patiently waiting because the station usually sold at night.
“We are here because we know they have fuel and they sell at N145, they usually sell at night.
“We thank the DPR for this enforcement, these marketers just make us suffer, may be because it is Christmas,” he said.
Customers at ARCON filling Station, Unizik junction, NIPCO Amawbia and other stations were jubilant as the marketers were made to revert prices from between N200 and N220 to the normal price of N145 per litre.
Atama warned that the exercise would be a continuous one and that unscrupulous marketers should stop fleecing the public as there was no increase in the cost of petrol.
But the Managing Director of ARCON, whose outfit was also sealed for allegedly reverting to N200 after the DPR officials left, said it was impossible for them to sell at N145 because the landing cost was much more than that.
The MD, who did not disclose his name, said he would rather have his station sealed than sell at a loss.
Meanwhile, Mr Mohammed Saidu, Head Public Affairs Unit of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says petroleum marketers diverted 129,000 liters of petrol from Abuja on Friday.
Saidu, after monitoring the stations, added that some of the erring filling stations had been given a total fine of more than N30.5 million.
According to him, more intelligence units are liaising with the public to get information for on-the-spot checks since the scarcity began.
Saidu said the products were being diverted without the knowledge of security agents, who have no mechanism to check amount off loaded at filling stations.
”We now have an intelligence measure that ensures that even if one litre of petrol is diverted, the station is penalised. We have a way of tracing it.
”Through this means, we were able to get to Bulasawa, that remote area behind the National Assembly, and they diverted 13,000 litres and they have been issued a letter to pay N3.575 million to the TSA within one week before they will continue their business.
”Whatever products that were there, we allowed them to sell them off on the spot so we don’t compound the issue of scarcity.
”We also got to Oando on Olusegun Obasanjo Way, they also diverted 11,000 litres which means out of the three compartments of the 33,000 that was consigned to them, they took away one compartment.
”They have been issued a letter to pay about N12 million into the TSA.
”We got another station that diverted 15,000 litres and they have been written to pay N15 million to the TSA.
”We got to one station – Toniset, along the Zuba Junction. They applied for formal renovation, they are doing renovation and we were surprised they were given two full load trucks of products without any place to dispense the product.
”We had to trace the two trucks to PPMC to ask how they allocated products to a station that is under construction,” Saidu explained.
He further eplained that the truck diverted from Bulasawa, was traced to one of its stations on Kaduna Road.
”The remaining 33,000 litres as far as we are concerned was not allocated to that station, so it has to pay the N3.5 million fine.
”The essence of making it N275 per litre is because they lifted the products at the depot at about N133 per litre, and so we double it, meaning, in addition to losing the product indirectly to the government, you are also charged additionally and this is to serve as a deterrent and many marketers are getting jittery.
”If the PPMC consign products to only stations that have physical presence, we are sure the scarcity will end,” he said.
He said the department had visited about 360 stations in Abuja, out of which 157 were found to be selling.
”Those few that we found that had products that were not selling, we stationed our staff there to make sure they sell, and they are about 20 stations,” Saidu said.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had earlier blamed the current petroleum scarcity in the country on marketers of the product.
The Group Managing Director of the company, Dr Maikanti Baru, had repeatedly assured Nigerians that the queues would disappear by Saturday as it had a 25-day sufficiency.