The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has sealed 30 fillings stations in Cross River State for selling petrol above the approved price of N145 per litre and other offences.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that three suspects were also arrested for various offences but were later released after writing an undertaking to adhere to DPR guidelines.
DPR Operations Controller in Cross River, Mr Philip Awolu disclosed this to NAN on Sunday in Calabar after an intensified surveillance across the state led by Mr SirCham Musa-Mohammed, Head of Operations of DPR in Calabar.
Awolu said that the filling stations were sealed for cheating the public in violation of stipulated rules guiding operations in the petroleum sector.
He maintained that no marketer has the right to increase pump price, irrespective of the distance from which the product was lifted from.
According to him, it is a serious offence for anyone to unseal the `DPR seal order’ without its permission, adding that violators will be fined N1 million.
He frowned at some marketers still operating without a valid licence, saying that DPR would ensure that they are licensed or be made to face the sanctions.
“Our team visited a total of 82 filling stations, 30 were sealed and out of that number, 12 of them have paid the fine of N100,000 each.
“Any station that is selling above the pump price will be sealed and made to pay a fine; after paying the fine to the Remita, such a station will be unsealed with a warning not to indulge in price hike again.
“We sympathise with marketers, especially those lifting the product from Calabar to Northern and Central parts of Cross River.
“They are supposed to be part of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund sponsored by the Federal Government to cushion the effect of transportation fare of the petroleum product. As it stands, they are not part of that regime.
“I will advise the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) to come together and make an appeal to the government with a view to benefit from the fund,’’ he said.
On gas dispensing in the state, the Controller said that notices have been given to some operators, whose stations were not properly sited for the business to relocate to safer areas.
He added that DPR was monitoring such stations to ensure compliance, standard and environmental safety.
He called on members of the public to report to the DPR any sharp practices being perpetrated by any filling station within the state.