By Our Reporters
A directive from Inspector General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, on Tuesday, that filling stations across the country should stop selling petrol in jerry cans has gone unheeded.
Arase warned that sellers and buyers of petrol in jerry cans would be arrested. But in Calabar, Cross River State, fuel dealers hawked petrol along major streets of the metropolis.
Some of the streets where the still sell fuel in jerry cans include Mayne Avenue, Marian Road, Murtala Mohammed- MCC junction and Mbukpa.
At these areas, the black marketers, as they are popularly called, displayed the product openly.
In Abuja where the directive was given, filling stations carried on with business as usual.
At Area 1 flyover bridge facing Conoil petrol station, where the market for sale of fuel in jerry cans boom, the ‘boys’ were spotted openly selling without little fear of being arrested.
When asked why they still hawked petrol even as the IGP directed that they be arrested if found, a female petrol hawker at Kugbo furniture market, along Abuja -Keffi Expressway, told Daily Sun that a litre of fuel is now N250 because when they buy, police officers, who used to collect one litter, now collect two litres! “So, we have to increase the price to make profit,” she said.
She fired the question back at the reporter rhetorically, why should the IGP give that directive, when “his people are neck-deep into the business.”
Daily Sun also observed at the two fuel stations opposite Louis Edet House, headquarters of the Nigeria Police (Total and Forte Oil), jerry can business continued unabated even with the presence of police on patrol.
When contacted, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Force Command Public Relations Officer, Anjuri Mamza, denied allegations by some hawkers that some officers extort money and collect litres of fuel from them.
In Imo State, in spite of the directive from the IGP that fuel stations should not sell fuel in jerry cans the fuel stations defied that order as people with jerry cans bought fuel as long as people paid N100 to the station attendants.
No arrest in Delta
In Asaba, Delta State, enthusiastic buyers with jerry cans were also sighted with fuel attendants graciously attending to them.
But, Public Relations Officer of the state police command, DSP Celestina Kalu said the directive of the IGP was for officers to apprehend those selling fuel to the public with jerrycans, saying that officers of the command were still looking out for such defaulters in the state.
Similarly, in Port Harcourt, a 10-litre jerry can sold between N155 and N170.
Bayelsa complies with directive
Sellers of petrol in jerry cans disappeared from major roads in Bayelsa state. Most filling stations that usually allowed the black market operators to use displayed jerry cans have directed them to stop so as not to incur the wrath of law enforcement agents.
Black market operators along Swali road, Isaac Boro Express road and Tombia roundabout have all disappeared.
No compliance in Onitsha
Although the practice was not carries out openly, black market fuel sellers were not many in the commercial city and no policeman was seen looking for such persons and no arrest has been made by the police in the area.
The fuel situation in Abakaliki was still the same as a litre of fuel, as at Wednesday evening sold at N180 and N150. The is zero compliance to the directive of the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase for filling stations to stop selling fuel in jerry cans in Abakaliki and its environs.
In Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital, residents pretended as though they never heard of the directive. Even the police are not left out of the ignorance of the directive as residents were seen buying and selling fuel in jerry cans across the state without any inhibitions.