[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ajority of fuel marketers across Ekiti State are yet to comply with federal government directive that petrol price be sold below N87 per litre starting from 1st day of January 2016.
As at Monday afternoon, most filling stations in Ekiti were yet to adjust their machines to reflect the DPR set prices of N86.00 by NNPC stations and N86.50 by non-NNPC marketers. And few, who had adjusted their machines, used calculators to sell at prices ranging between N110 per litre and N150 per litre.
The Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), last week Tuesday, announced that retail filling stations belonging to the NNPC would from Friday, January 1, 2016, sell petrol at N86 per litre, while other oil marketers would sell the product at N86.50 per litre.
According to the PPPRA Executive Secretary, Mr. Farouk Ahmed, the reduction in the price of the commodity was due to an implementation of the revised components of the petroleum products pricing template for PMS and Household Kerosene.
But investigation by our correspondents on Sunday and Monday revealed that most petrol stations in Ekiti State, especially the capital had not complied with the directive.
As at Sunday, NNPC station located along Federal polytechnic Road, Oke-Ureje, Ado-Ekiti, which did not adjust its pump down to N86.00 until Monday, sold to the public on Sunday at the old price of N87 per litre.
By Monday afternoon, when Motoring World International’s correspondent re-visited the station, its pump and signboard had reflected the new price, but was no more selling fuel.
Indeed, as at Monday, no NNPC filling station in Ado Ekiti sold fuel to the public.
While Oando located along Ikere Road as well as Total located at Fajuyi had no fuel, Mobil Filling Station located along Ikere-Ekiti Road, though had adjusted its pumps to reflect the new price, sold fuel to motorists at N110 per litre. When asked why the refusal to comply, the Manager of the station, who answered Temidayo, spoke to our correspondent, who disguised as a potential buyer, that the station would not be able to sell at the price directed by government until “we receive a new order.”
The recorded conversation went thus:
|MOWI: I wanted to buy fuel and your attendant is charging N110. Why?
|Mobil Station Manager: That’s the price
|MOWI: From the price indicated on your machine, it is apparent that you are
aware of the federal government’s directive that petrol be sold at lower price?
|Mobil Station Manager: I’m aware, but we have not received the N86.50 product.
When we have that, we will sell at the right price
|MOWI: When are you likely to receive the N86.50 product then?
|Mobil Station Manager: Until we get another order
|MOWI: What is your name?
|Mobil Station Manager: Temidayo
Responding to our finding, the Ekiti State Police Command spokesperson, who confirmed he was aware of the situation in the state, said there was nothing the police could do, because it is the duty of Directorate of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to visit the stations and sanction the saboteurs.
“Our people here are very lawless,” he said. “My friend just came from Lagos and informed us the Federal government directive is being complied with in Lagos, that he bought fuel at N86.50. Why should Ekiti be different? Is Ekiti not part of Nigeria? If you media people can help us carry the story maybe that would motivate the DPR to remember Ekiti.”
When contacted, Mrs Dorothy Bassey, Head of Public Affairs Unit of DPR, Lagos headquarters, claimed it was untrue that DPR had not visited Ekiti State, although our findings proved to the contrary, for even at the state capital, majority of filling stations were yet to adjust their fuel pump to the N86.50 price as at Moday, 4th January 2016.
“We receive all kinds of text messages from members of the public,” she said, “and act on authentic ones. We cannot be everywhere all the time.”
Mrs Bassey said she expected members of the public to take photographs of yet-to-be-adjusted meter boards of filling stations and pass same to DPR for action.
When told by our correspondent that the marketers flouting FG directives in Ekiti sell with calculators, she requested our correspondent to get across to her details of such filling stations for necessary actions.
To Ekiti State motorists, who spoke to Motoring World, the situation in the state has persisted, because the fuel sellers believe that DPR would not likely visit Ekiti state.
“Even if they do not visit all parts of Ekiti State, one would have expected them to at least visit the state capital,” said an Ekiti-based hotelier and motorist, who spoke to our correspondent in anonymity. “I can assure you, had DPR personnel gone round for merely 30 minutes in Ado-Ekiti in an unmarked vehicle, they would have caught the culprits.”
Another motorist, a commercial transporter, name withheld, said maybe the federal government agency are deliberately neglecting Ekiti state, because it is a PDP state.”
“Almost a week after the government directive,” lamented a commercial motorcyclist named Fadipe, “I bought fuel yesterday at N130 per litre and today at N125 per litre. But people say everything is now normal in Lagos, Abuja and so on. Why? Are we not part of Nigeria? Where are the so-called tax force?”
Meanwhile, the PPPRA had vowed to sanction any filling station found flouting government’s directive.
It would be recalled that the Assistant General Manager/Head of Operations, PPPRA, Mr. Victor Shidok, who recently led a team from the PPPRA to monitor the level of compliance with the directive in Abuja, warned that the government would not tolerate any deviation from the new directive.
According to him, to ensure that Nigerians were not shortchanged, the PPPRA monitoring team, would in conjunction with DPR, move simultaneously across the country, a statement which was at variant with what DPR’s Head of Public Affairs Unit, told our correspondent in a telephone interview on Monday.
As at Saturday, Shidok claimed there was already100 per cent compliance in city centres, adding that the team had yet reached the outskirts where he feared that there might be challenges with regard to total compliance.
Unless Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state capital is regarded as an outskirts, there is apparently no presence of the task force in any part of Ekiti State. And oil marketers, who are daring the federal government directive in Ekiti State capital, seem to be sure that no monitoring team would ever visit Ekiti.
While residents and motorists in the state are hopelessly waiting for the PPPRA and DPR to prove otherwise.