The North-west zonal office of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has shut down a total of three filling stations in Kaduna.
The closure was as a result of a routine visit to filling stations across the states to find out those that are not complying with government directives and regulations.
The offences ranges from selling products above government approved N97.00 per litre pump price for petrol, under delivery, diversion of petroleum products to unknown destinations, selling products in drums and jerry cans, hoarding of products and operating under unsafe environment.
Briefing journalists at DPR zonal office in Kaduna, the Public Relations Officer; Mr Mohammed Bulama Saidu, also disclosed that 11 illegally built petrol stations were discovered in Kaduna and Zamfara states.
He added that 23 cases of pipeline vandalism within Kaduna zone were recorded between January-March 2013.
He urged Nigerians to report any suspected case of pump delivery adjustment, hoarding, diversion or any form of sharp practices by petroleum marketers and pipe line vandalism to DPR for prompt action.
Officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on Tuesday arrested 11 illegal markets of petroleum products near Danziyal Plaza, along Olusegun Obasanjo way, Central Area, Abuja. The operatives also seized more than 100 diesel-filled barrels from the scene of the arrest.
A tanker, filled with diesel was recovered while the driver was arrested as well.
Also, hundreds of jerry cans filled with Premium Motor Spirit and kerosene were recovered.
One of the suspects who said he is the Vice Chairman of the marketers in central area, Umar Musa Kuta said they have been in the business for over 10 years without any disturbance from the government.
“I sell diesel there in Danziyal Plaza. We go to the depot direct to buy diesel. We use to gather our money…four or five people will gather money and buy a truck. We have storage and we take the diesel small small, supplying hotels, houses and some Ministries.”
When asked if he had a license to operate, he said: “No, but I am registered with the CAC.”
He said he knew he should have registered with the DPR but said he was not prepared to get the licence yet. “We are working gradually. I am not up to that stage yet but will get to that stage gradually.”
The Federal Capital Territory Commandant of NSCDC, Aminu Kofarsoro said the suspects would be charged to court when investigation is concluded.
“The suspects are illegal dealers in petroleum products and they don’t have licence to operate or sell petroleum products by DPR. In collaboration with DPR, we raided and arrested these people.
“The wrath of the law will follow after due investigation of the involvement in the crime.”
While reacting to the protest by some of the suspects that they were not illegal marketers, the Commandant said “a dealer, as long as I’m concerned is those who have their licence and are certified by DPR to operate. Anybody who is selling, dealing in petroleum products without license is termed as somebody who is sabotaging the federal government’s efforts in the area of distribution of petrol products.”
“They are going to be charged to court in accordance with the laws of the federation.”
“The suspects are illegal dealers in petroleum products and they don’t have the approved licence.”
The DPR Head of Downstream in Abuja, Yerima Kolomi said they were determined to clear people who were into petrol products adulteration, storage and sales without license.
“It has been a menace in the FCT and Abuja in particular. You can see the volume of just one of their depots.”
He said they have been handicapped in carrying out a raid of that nature because of lack of capacity.
“As long as DPR is concerned, these people don’t have the license to operate because they are not registered with us.”
He said apart from selling in an open market, the business was not standardised, adding that their source of supply was not known.
The Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum Resources, (downstream), Mr Dakuku Peterside has stated that the lingering fuel scarcity across the country may persist till the third quarter of 2013.
Mr Peterside who was a guest on Channels TV’S weekend programme, Sunrise, explained that the problem will linger on because “we didn’t plan effectively for the importation.”
He listed three problems which included the failure of banks to further finance the importation of PMS, due to the revelations at various committees probing the oil sector.
According to Mr Peterside, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) issued 39 licences for the importation of fuel but only 19 of the importers have been able to deliver.
The other problems are the vandalisation of a major pipeline in Arepo and the failure of the Ministry of Finance to pay some fuel importers.
The lawmaker lampooned the plethora of investigations not concluded in the nation’s oil sector.
PIB in 2013
The lawmaker also revealed after series of delays, the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) should be concluded by the second quarter of 2013 when it may be signed into law.
Honourable Peterside gave the assurance, adding that the government should be commended for introducing the bill which according to him is the first attempt to reform the petroleum industry after the Petroleum Act of 1969.
The Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force, Nuhu Ribadu and a member of his team, Steve Oronsanye traded words at the presentation of the committee’s report to President Goodluck Jonathan with the latter alleging that the report was flawed with unconfirmed figures.
In his part, Mr Ribadu accused the former Head of Service of not working with the committee during the course of their investigation.
The former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) also accused Mr Oronsanye of accepting an appointed as a member of the board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) while the committee was investigating the company and others in the oil sector.
He said: “Steve Oronsanye never participated one day in the deliberations of this committee. Not even a single day. He never”
Mr Ribadu added that: “the first time we saw Steve was at the end of the work when we were talking about recoveries from companies that he jumped in and he got in.”
He defended his position, saying “all the members (of the committee) are here, they can bare witness to what I have said.”
Mr Ribadu said that apart from Mr Oronsanye who accepted an appointed as a of Directors in the NNPC, another member of the committee, Bernard Oti also accepted an appointment as NNPC’s Director of Finance while the committee’s investigation lasted.
Mr Ribadu told the president that “this recommendation is for you to use. It is your work. You thought it wise to bring people from outside to help you look at the industry critically and give an honest opinion.”
Mr Oronsanye, the former Head of Service, who had urged the President not to accept the report claiming some of the figures in the draft report were “unreconciled figures” and that institutions responsible for the figures, such as the Department of Petroluem Resources (DPR) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) were not consulted.
He also alleged that the report that was presented to the President was rushed and was not presented to the committee before it submitted.
President Jonathan in his remark gave the assurance that despite the rancour between members of the committee, his administration will look into the report and prosecute any one alleged of misappropriation in the nation’s oil sector.
He said the country need to get its oil industry right because, a lot African countries on the shorelines are now discovering crude “and if we do not get our acts together, investors will just take their money to these countries.”
The Ribadu led Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force was appointed in February and was given 60 working days to deliver their mandate of enhancing integrity and accountability in the petroleum industry.
The 146-page report produced by the committee was earlier in the week leaked to Reuters News agency, revealing that the nation loses out on $29 billion on cut-price gas deals from the year 2002 to the present.
Meanwhile, the former EFCC boss has been reacting on the leakage of the report to the public before presentation.
Answering questions from reporters after the submission of the reports, he said there is no difference between what has been submitted and what has been in circulation.
He insisted that one cannot fault the possibility of a leakage in a project where so many people are involved.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Allison-Madueke, urged Nigerians not to lose focus on the objective behind the reports, saying that there was no misunderstanding between her and the former EFCC chairman and that she did not in any way interfere with the work of the task force.
Mr Ribadu has since posted on his social media platforms that “no matter the pressure, don’t compromise, stand for the truth and with people of integrity.”
The Federal Government plans to spend N250 billion on the Turn-Around Maintenance of the Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna refineries.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Alison-Madueke on Monday while being grilled by the Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) over the failure of the government to fix the refineries.
The minister said the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2014, the Turn-Around Maintenance project would have been completed, and the three refineries would be producing 370, 000 barrels per day, which is about 90 percent of the 445,000 barrels needed daily.
The project would start with the Port Harcourt refinery and Mrs Alison-Madueke said the government will spend $146 million out of which $32million (75 percent) had already been paid for the materials needed.
On why petroleum is selling at varying prices across the nation, the minister merely said: “Since the price was changes in January, it has become difficult for the market forces to stabilise at the official price. There is a major issue of supply partly due to subsidy payments. We are battling hard to ensure sufficient supply.”
Asked if the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) was helpless at checking the disparity in prices, she replied: “If you are covering a country as large, there will be issue of pricing”.
“The DPR is, however, moving aggressively in the last months to check the anomaly. Of recent, 75 filling stations have been sealed up across the country over disparity in pricing”, Alison-Madueke told the committee.
She informed the committee that the vandalisation of NNPC pipelines in Arepo, Ogun State was a major reason responsible for the recent fuel scarcity in some parts of the country and especially in the South West.
She noted that in the process of repairing the damaged pipelines, three NNPC officials were kidnapped, confirming that the three officials had been killed.
But the committee said petroleum was selling at varying prices because that the minister was allocating the product to the independent marketers with preferential treatment.
The chairman of the committee, Magnus Abe, said: “How can filling stations sell at N97 per litre when the PPMC, as we have discovered, collected money from marketers without supplying them the product on time. Honourable minister, have you ever gone to the depots to see what marketers go through. We were told that you are giving allocation to only those who have godfathers. Unless this anomaly is removed from the source, we can’t force filling stations to sell at official prices.”
The committee also asked the minister to “digitalize” the process of allocating the products to enhance transparency, saying the “current analogue process is creating hidden costs”.
The Department of Petrol Resources (DPR), Jos Field Office has sealed off some filling stations that refused to comply with the new fuel regime price of N97 per litre with a warning that such filling stations must adhere to the new pricing.
Members’ staff of the organization was on the streets to monitor compliance of the petroleum product pricing and regulatory agency PPPRA directives on the new pricing which most fuel stations in the state have ignored as they continued to sell over n140 per litre.
Work has already resume at the public and private offices as the state and federal secretariats in Jos, north central Nigeria, in compliance with the directive of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), as well as banks and markets.
But residents in the city and environs are confronted with long queues at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Mega Station following the announcement of the new pump price which independent oil marketers have not adhered to.
The DPR in Jos went round the filling stations to enforce compliance with the new order in price regime.
Former military governor of Delta state, Colonel David Dungs has enjoined Nigerians to exercise patience on the new pump price and hold government in good trust to invest the subsidy as it has promised.