From SADIQ ABUBAKAR, Maiduguri –
The North-East Zonal Operations Controller of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Maiduguri Zonal Office, Alhaji Ibrahim Abubakar Ciroma, has explained the circumstances leading to the alleged hording of fuel by some filling stations in Borno State.
Briefing journalists in his office on Thursday, Ciroma said “actually, there was no Communication or contact between the governor (of Borno state) and DPR Maiduguri Zonal office on the alleged hoarding of fuel by some filling stations in Maiduguri.”
He was reaction reports of scarcity of petroleum products and alleged hoarding of fuel by some filling stations in Maiduguri metropolis during the state government’s stay-at-home order and closure of entries into the state for two weeks with effect from April 1, 2020.
According Ciroma, “We only learnt that the governor was at the DPR office after we closed from work and from there he went to some filling stations and ordered the sale of fuel reserve in those filling stations based on speculations given to him that the filling stations hoarded and refused to sale the fuel.”
He continued: “We only know that there are 4 filling stations that contacted us requesting for approval to be storing fuel for the military which I told them, they should put their request into writing and forward it for approval. There is no problem about that but we will not allow keeping of fuel or hoarding of fuel by any filling station.
“Hence any filling station found wanting will be sanctioned according to the law which is revocation of licence and fine without any fear or favour against such illegal act.
“Our staff are on ground and stationed in all the filling stations that have delivery of fuel to ensure such fuel reaches it’s rightful destination and is sold accordingly.
“We have records of all the trucks received and will be received from the NNPC and IPMAN . We are in touch with the leadership of IPMAN and knows the total.number of trucks received and the name of filling stations.such trucks were distributed.”
He insisted that so far, there was no filling station hoarding fuel except in the case of reserved dirty or dusty fuel which can not be sold to the Motorists, pointing out that , following the hiccups over the state directives on stay at home and closure of state borders when the governor visited some filling stations.on.alleged speculation of hoarding of fuel.
According to the DPR Zonal operations officer, “Only 3 trucks were supplied for days ago. On Saturday, 6 trucks were supplied for both Borno and Yobe states where Borno received 4 and Yobe received 2 trucks. Then on Sunday, there was no supply at whole till Monday when another 6 trucks were received. 4 trucks for Borno and 2 trucks for Yobe.
“On Tuesday, 8 trucks were received and Wednesday yesterday was the highest number of 18 trucks for Borno state and 6 trucks for Yobe State, making 24 trucks That is why presently, since yesterday Wednesday, there is stability and availability of fuel all over better than in the past few days of the stay at home period,” he said.
Ciroma maintained that the hiccups in the supply triggered the governor not the scarcity of fuel to storm some filling stations on allegations or speculations to order for the sale of their fuel without contacting or reaching the DPR to ascertain the true position of the situation on ground officially.
He said it was possible that the governor was misinformed about the availability of the fuel and got annoyed, “if not, there was no fuel any where meant for sale that was not recorded. Out staff have been deployed to all the stations. This made us to even recall our staff who were on stay at home to come to work.”
He further said: “Any filling station found wanting or hoarding fuel will be instantly penalized and licence revoked. Same thing , anybody found selling fuel above official.pump price. That is why we gave out our contact numbers to the public to call us in case of any hike in fuel ump price or hoarding of fuel.
“Our DPR Maiduguri Zonal Office contact numbers are: 08056497084, 08056497092 and 08056497095. Unfortunately, the governor was at the DPR office after we close”, Ciroma. said.
“We also want to.ensure that no filling station will sale fuel at unapproved pump price . However we are aware that some unscrupulous elements are taking the advantage of the stay at home to sale fuel in the night after the DPR officials have closed from work and even at exorbitant price.
“i.assure you that anybody caught will face the wrath of the law. I call on the public to call DPR through the numbers given for the public . We are ready to station our staff at every filling station violating the law and we will be in close monitoring of the filling stations and close down any filling station that hike fuel pump price, they will be dealt with.
“I urge the public to be patient. We are expecting over 100 trucks of fuel soon. Presently there are no queues in filling stations. I also intend to meet the governor for briefing. The governor was at the DPR office after closing hours before going to.some filling stations.
“We are doing our job and will not relent on our efforts to track down the violators and bring them to book for appropriate penalty. We intend to deal with them effectively even it is in the night. I can not tolerate them. We are ready to deal with the violators.
” We have embarked on sanction on safety issue to ensure no.any gas explosion occur as a result of the high temperature in Borno. I invited them here and instructed the gas dealers to ensure clean and safety ventilation and healthy environment
“They should also ensure no leakages from their facilities or equipment. We also summon them here a month ago and show them video clip of the dangers of gas explosion.”
On alleged collection or extortion of money by some DPR staff, he said DPR charges all trucks depending on the load and can withdraw licence of any violators.
Ciroma said he had not received any case up til now on alleged staff extortion and regards such as speculation hence there is no record of such case.
“No filling station so far that it’s licence has been revoked . There is desk top on the quantity that is being received.. I should think the filling stations the governor alleged they were hoarding fuel and he went to the filling stations that had fuel in reserve for the military.
“I intend to open door of Communication between the governor and DPR. There was speculation and it was reported to the Governor which is not true. May be the governor went and storm the stations on speculations without contacting DPR.
“We have staff and deployed the staff to follow each truck to it’s filling station and monitored the sales . We even received 24 trucks on Wednesday yesterday. We are also expecting 10 additional trucks from NNPC intervention from Gombe Depot any moment from now but it will take days to reach here.
“IPMAN Chairman , Alhaji Mohammed kuluwu Ngala was here with DPR and confirm 100 trucks are expected. I should think, the hiccups contributed to the delay so far. Not that, there is no fuel. We have fuel . The trucks had hiccups bringing the fuel down to Maiduguri either from Lagos or Kaduna or Port Harcourt”, the DPR Controller said.