Alhaji Abubakar Sandaji, President, Association of Licensed Independent Petroleum Marketers, Nasarawa State chapter, has concluded plan to clamp down on members who violate the rules of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in the state.
The President stated this in an interview with Independent in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.
Sandaji said the current fuel scarcity experienced across the country may tempt some members to break DPR regulations and engage in all kinds of activities to cheat innocent Nigerians and make quick profit hence the need for the warning.
“We are law abiding citizens and we will not allow anybody to tarnish the image of our association in the mud. Anybody that is caught engaging in any kind of activity that is against the regulations of DPR must face the full wrath of the law.
“For instance, if somebody adjusts his meter and gives a customer 18 litres of fuel instead of 20 litres or takes official fuel and divert it, there is no remedy. We as a body, cannot stand for you with the DPR. There are other areas we can step in but not in breach of DPR regulations,” he said.
Sandaji added that even if DPR issues new regulations, all members of the association are expected to comply to avoid sanctions.
“The most important thing is that the association is to always comply with the rules of DPR with a view to making affordable fuel available as the last retail outlet,” he said.
Abubakar, however, said the association had made concerted efforts to enlighten and educate interested marketers of its activities, how to adhere to the rules and regulations of DPR and relate to with officials of DPR properly.
“We enlighten our members and those interested in joining us on the regulations of DPR but some of them initially thought that the DPR is a very big mighty institution that once they go there, they will be arrested. No, the DPR is here to help you,” he said.
The association boss urged the Federal Government to deregulate the petroleum industry so that independent marketers can source for the product themselves and make it always available for Nigerians at competitive prices.
“We have to deregulate the petroleum industry. With deregulation, competition will start and the product will be always available. Even some people will go further to build refineries. Until deregulation is activated, all these will not happen,” he said.
Sandaji also revealed that the relationship between the independent marketers and customers during the period of the fuel scarcity had deteriorated thereby encouraging suspicion and distrust among some customers.
“It has not been cordial between us and the customers. You know we are the last point and they don’t know the processes the product follows before it finally gets to the point. All they believe is that government says fuel should sell at N86 and it should be so.
“We are the ones in the firing line. Nobody sees the DPR, nobody sees the independent depot marketers, and nobody sees the depot representatives. We are the only ones facing the common people and their anger,” he said.
He further pointed out that the Association of Licensed Independent Petroleum Marketers is the official subsidiary of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), its parent body in the country.