Owners of petrol stations in Benue defy FG directive on new pump price

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Owners of petrol stations across major towns in Benue have defied government directive to sell petrol at the new pump price of N86.50k per litre.
An investigation conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Makurdi showed that major and independent marketers in the state were selling the product at between N120 and N130 per litre.
A cross section of the marketers who spoke under condition of anonymity, said that the product they had were old stock which they bought at high cost.
When contacted, Mr Benjamin Ewuga, the controller, Department of Petroleum Services (DPR) in charge of Benue and Nasarawa states, said that the situation in the state was aggravated by politics.
He described the situation as being “caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.’’
Ewuga said that while the department wanted closure of defaulting petrol stations, the government was opposed to such measures for political considerations.
He explained that the government was afraid that closure of defaulting petrol stations would not only aggravate fuel scarcity, but could also lead to increase in the prices of goods and services.
“This could be potent weapon in the hands of political opponents,’’ Ewuga quoted government officials as saying.
Ewuga also blamed ineffective surveillance of petrol stations across the state on inadequate staff.
“The department has only 20 staff in the state while there are over 33,000 petrol stations.
“How can we go round, it is not even possible to station our men at stations to ensure compliance with the new pump price,” he said.
The controller explained that owners of petrol stations were taking advantage of the state government’s stand against closure of their stations to undermine the operations of the department.
He said,“owners of petrol stations change their pump price as soon as our team departs from their stations after inspections.
“It is not possible for us to be every where at the same time considering our staff strength.” (NAN)

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