By Adewale Sanyaolu
THE Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Solomon Arase, yesterday ordered the arrest of persons found to be in possession of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise called petrol in jerrycans.
And to give credence to the directive, Arase has communicated all Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and State Command Commissioners of Police to arrest anyone selling petrol and other petroleum products into plastic containers.
Arase warned fuel attendants at fuel stations to desist from selling petrol inside jerrycans and plastic containers, saying that both the buyers and the sellers of the products would be arrested and prosecuted under the law.
The latest directive to halt all forms of sharp practices in the petroleum distribution and supply chain network was contained in a statement issued by the Force Public Relations Officer, Olabisi Kolawole, in Abuja.
The IGP hinged the clampdown on the hardship the activities of black market operators are causing genuine fuel buyers, motorists and commuters, adding that the development had equally rendered some innocent and law-abiding citizens homeless as a result of fire outbreaks.
The statement said that petroleum products such as petrol are highly flammable and if not stored and handled properly, can seriously endanger people’s lives, property and the environment.
But the Petroleum Act 1969, Section 4(1) stated that ‘‘Subject to this section, no person shall import, store, sell or distribute any petroleum products in Nigeria without a license granted by the Minister’.”
Furthermore, Section 4(2) ‘‘Subsection(1) of this section shall not apply in respect of: (a) the storage, sale or distribution of not more than 500 litres of kerosene, and such other categories of petroleum products as may be exempted from the application of Subsection (1) of this section by the Minister by order published in the Federal Gazette;
(b)Storage of petroleum products undertaken otherwise than in connection with the importation, sale or distribution of petroleum products.’’