By G9ija

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Wednesday ramped up efforts to stop overpricing of petrol, manipulation of metering devices, as well as diversion of the product in Abuja, following the upsurge of various malpractices after last week’s hoax that prices had been increased.

The Zonal Operations Controller, Abuja, Mr Abubakar Buba, who embarked on an enforcement drive on errant filling stations, explained that in about 24 hours, the regulatory agency had sealed off at least 11 of such facilities in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

DPR stated that it was enhancing its surveillance and monitoring function within Abuja and environs to sustain full compliance with efforts at product availability and ensure unhindered product movement to motorists and other consumers in an orderly manner.

It added that as part of its duties, it was carrying out on-the-spot analysis to verify the quality of products and ascertain that they meet quality specification and make sure that all filling station operators continue to sell at the prevailing approved price band.

While insisting that government had not approved any price increase, the agency noted that part of its aim during the monitoring exercise was to check boarding, diversion, adulteration, under-delivery and maintain safety of personnel and the public.

It stated that this was to make sure that marketers do not shortchange the public through any form of sharp practices.

Speaking during the exercise, Buba urged marketers to observe good operational practices that would prevent unintended water ingress, with the raining season fast approaching.

He urged station owners to always check for presence of water using pastes during discharge and before commencement of sales, saying that filling station owners should ensure use of tamper-proof manholes and other seal devices on petroleum products’ tankers to prevent sharp practices by tanker drivers who deliberately introduce water into products for greedy gains.

“As is part of our regular exercise, DPR will continue to intensify its surveillance activities on all retail outlets within the zone and violators will be sanctioned accordingly.

“We want to make sure that filling stations are complying with the rules and regulations guiding their operations. We have noted few infractions and the culprits are going to pay the appropriate fines.

“These range from overpricing to under-dispensing. Those were the major infractions and we will make sure that this will be sustained,” Buba stated.

He said that there is no need for Nigerians to panic, as there’s enough petrol in stock, stressing that the 11 stations were sealed for various reasons, including safety issues.