Filling stations across the country have adjusted their meters to now dispense fuel at between N110 and N130 per litre, although the meters are still programmed to indicate N97, LEADERSHIP findings have revealed.
Similarly, investigations showed that the meters have been adjusted to discharge between 40 and 45 litres when demand is made for 50litres of fuel with the meter reflecting 50 litres.
The illegal adjustment of fuel meters to sell above official price, according to sources, is allegedly committed with the connivance of the government officials who sell the product to marketers above the official ex-depot price.
However, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said the pump price of fuel has not been increased by government.
Speaking with LEADERSHIP yesterday, the acting spokesman of the Corporation, Mr. Fidel Pepple, said the official price of a litre of fuel remains N97.
Reacting to the development of adjusted pump price, Pepple said that "all registered marketers with the NNPC get the product at the official ex-depot price of N87.56k a litre."
But a source within the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) who pleaded anonymity told LEADERSHIP that although the official price of fuel remains N97 a litre, "the truth is that some marketers sell above that price."
He said that DPR carried out frequent inspections to check such illegal activity adding that any filling stations found wanting are usually sealed off and asked to revert to the official price.
According to the source, the development resulted from the shortage of the product which forces some marketers to get fuel from third parties and from various private depots across the country at prices higher than the official ex-depot price.
He said: "I think the issue of downstream deregulation should be addressed properly, so that people can buy and sell at the best prices rather than a situation of scarcity where prices are now fixed at the marketers' will against government's approved price.
"The issue is that people buy from various depots and sell at illegal prices, and this situation will continue as long as the sector remains regulated," he added.
Meanwhile, a motorist in Abuja, who identified himself as Charles Nwafor, told our reporter that Nigerians are suffering a lot over the fuel situation in the country.
"We do not know what to do concerning the fuel situation again. The government is not taking serious measures to solve this fuel crisis and deceit in filling stations, because the scarcity of the product is one thing and when you get the fuel to buy, you will discover that you have been deceived by the attendants," he lamented.