Nigerian Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva has explained how Nigerians can assist federal authorities in identifying fuel depots and their owners selling petroleum products beyond the approved ex-depot price in the country.
While briefing newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, March 17, on its effort to resolve the issue of fuel scarcity in the country, the Minister of State vowed that the federal authorities shall deal decisively and sanction any depot owner found wanting.
He urged Nigerians to report any one who tried to take advantage of the situation for sanctioning as required by the law.
“We are aware, just like President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement, that there are some Depot Owners who are taking advantage of the situation by increasing the Ex-depot price.
“I can assure you that there will be sanctions for any of those depots that continues to increase the Ex-depot price as approved. We are going to deal decisively with anyone who tries to take advantage of this situation.
“Its been a difficult few weeks; few weeks ago, we had issue of petroleum product shortage. I have already addressed that matter which coincided with the geopolitical tension in Ukraine and Russia.
“Prices of crude oil went up exponentially beyond levels expected. As you all know, when crude oil prices rise to that level, it can also affect the derivatives of crude oil.
“Nigerians are suffering because of the high diesel prices, including everywhere else globally.
“This is not peculiar to us at all. Diesel is a deregulated product and therefore when the prices go up internationally it affects the price also in Nigeria,” the former Bayelsa State Governor said.
Mr. Sylva said, as a result, the trucks that could move petroleum products, that ran on diesel were impacted and could not really cope with the high diesel prices.
The minister revealed how the high cost of transportation have grounded the movement of products which were available in the depots to the petrol stations across the country and brought in another dimension to the crisis.
“If any deport owner increases price or any fuel station tries to take advantage of the situation, the public should report immediately.
“If we do not get the report, we cannot know what is going on or sanction them,” he said.
He said that so far, the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPC) and Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), had been working very hard.
According to him, the situation is gradually being controlled.
Sylva said that supply is being increased especially that of Abuja.
“We are not resting; we share the pains of Nigerians.
“We will continue to ensure that the situation is controlled. Queues are coming down in Lagos and other parts of the country. Very soon, this will be a thing of the past,” he assured.