The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) yesterday ramped up efforts to stop overpricing of petrol, manipulation of metering devices as well as the diversion of the product in Abuja, following the upsurge of various malpractices after last week's hoax that prices had been increased.
DPR's Zonal Operations Controller, Abuja, Mr. Abubakar Buba, who embarked on an enforcement drive against errant filling stations, said in about 24 hours, the regulatory agency had sealed at least 11 filling stations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
DPR stated that it was enhancing its surveillance and monitoring functions within Abuja and environs to sustain full compliance with efforts at product availability and ensure unhindered product supply to motorists and other consumers.
It added that as part of its duties, it is carrying out on-the-spot analysis to verify the quality of products and ascertain that they meet quality specification and make sure that all filling station operators sell at the approved price band.
While insisting that government has not approved any price increase, the agency said part of its aim during the monitoring was to check hoarding, diversion, adulteration, under-delivery and maintain the safety of personnel and the public.
It stated that this was to make sure that marketers do not short-change the public through sharp practices.
Buba also urged marketers to observe good operational practices to prevent unintended water ingress, with the raining season fast approaching.
He urged station owners to always check for the presence of water using pastes during discharge and before the commencement of sales, saying that filling station owners should ensure the use of tamper-proof manholes and other seal devices on petroleum products' tankers to prevent sharp practices by tanker drivers who deliberately introduce water into products for greedy gains.
"As is part of our regular exercise, DPR will continue to intensify its surveillance activities on all retail outlets within the zone and violators will be sanctioned accordingly.
"We want to make sure that filling stations are complying with the rules and regulations guiding their operations. We have noted few infractions and the culprits are going to pay the appropriate fines.
"These range from overpricing to under-dispensing. Those were the major infractions and we will make sure that this will be sustained," Buba stated.