Ali Abare, Gombe
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has blamed the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) for not supplying sufficient petroleum products to end the lingering fuel scarcity that has persisted for months.
Controller DPR Gombe Zonal Office, Abdullahi Abawa, laid the blame, accusing the NNPC of alleged dereliction of duty in its failure to supply sufficient products towards ending the fuel scarcity.
While dismissing claims credited to the NNPC suggesting that DPR was compromising its responsibility with officials of the agency alleged to have resorted to collecting bribe from oil marketers, Abawa maintained that the DPR is doing its best to regulate the industry.
He, however, said there were obvious signs that something was wrong. Said he, “We don’t have enough products that is why we are experiencing scarcity. We attribute this lack of sufficient supply to NNPC, which we say, is not coming to the table with clean hands. We have heard severally news about the arrival of ships laden with petroleum products but at the end, there is still no end to the scarcity,” he said.
Abawa accused the NNPC of dereliction of duty in terms of supply of products, adding that despite several assurances from NNPC on the availability of product at various stages of the prevailing scarcity, the opposite has always been the case.
“DPR is a major regulator and not an operator in the oil business. It has no business with sourcing for products. NNPC as an operator should open up and tell the public why there is scarcity of products,” Abawa said.
He appealed to the NNPC to collaborate with depot owners with a view to solving the lingering problems associated with fuel scarcity.
A document obtained from the DPR office in Gombe indicate that for there to be sufficient fuel in the state, 15 trucks was required daily with the present supply fluctuating between 5 and 11 trucks daily.
Meanwhile, as part of its routine surveillance, the DPR impounded five vehicles found with fabricated tanks as they wait to buy fuel at an official NNPC outlet located around the Bauchi Motor Park in Gombe metropolis.
Abawa explained that the impounded vehicles were handed over to officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) for further investigation and eventual prosecution.
He frowned at selfish individuals who further complicate the situation by engaging in sharp practice around filling stations which further worsen the fuel scarcity.
The vehicles impounded included among others, a Honda Civic with registration number GMB AE448 YDB, a Toyota Carrina E with registration number Lagos AT516 EPE and another Honda Civic with registration number AY298DAL.
Abawa described as worrisome the antics of some car owners and motorcyclists, who convert their vehicles and motorbikes to mobile fuel tanks, buying fuel from filling stations with the intention of selling it back at the black market.
He warned that DPR would not fold its arms to watch while some unpatriotic citizens sabotage the effort of government to end the prevailing fuel scarcity.
“These are part of the problems I was saying. Even the public is not helping matters. You can see we have made some arrest of persons who fabricated huge tanks on their vehicles just to buy fuel at filling stations with the aim of selling it back at the black market. Nigerians are even their own problems,” he said.