The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Ogun, on Saturday, sealed off six petrol stations and arrested four persons in the state.
The DPR made the arrests for fuel hoarding, under-dispensing, sabotage, obstruction of justice and installation of commercial gas cylinders without approval.
All the affected petrol stations were found to have more than enough of the commodity but refused to sell it to the public.
Some buyers, who spoke accused the station owners of selling fuel at night above the pump price of N145.
“They only sell at night and they sell for N200 per litre,” one of the buyers in Ota, Ogun, who pleaded anonymity, said.
A mild drama, however, ensued at one of the filling stations along Ilaro expressway, as the attendants and the manager fled upon sighting the DPR officials and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The DPR Head of Operations, Mr Kasali Akinade, led the surveillance team to the stations.
Akinade said that the exercise became necessary after receiving the information that some filling stations were hoarding, under-dispensing and selling above the pump price.
“We are aware that some filling stations are either hoarding or selling above the pump price; as high as N180 or N200 per litre, which is against the government price policy of N145.
“When we see any filling station, either hoarding or not selling, what we do is to order them to start selling at the approved pump price,” he said.
Kasali, who decried the artificial scarcity created by the filling stations, added that the arrests made were due to the uncooperative attitude of those arrested.
“Normally in a situation like this, we didn’t want to make any arrest, but just to ask them to sell, however, some of them were not willing to cooperate with us.
“When we asked them to start selling, they put off the engine; that is, the electric generator, which is against government policy.
‘‘This country is blessed with petroleum and the good people of Nigeria are not supposed to be denied the use of the resources.
Meanwhile, the Zonal Public Relations Officer of the NSCDC, Mr Kareem Olarenwaju, explained that those arrested were caught hoarding fuel and selling above pump price.
He said, “four were arrested for their role in hoarding fuel and some were also guilty of breach of peace; one of them obstructed us for a long time”.
Olarenwaju revealed that those arrested would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
‘‘They may be made to pay normal fine to the DPR, otherwise, they will be charged to court,” he said.
Other filling stations visited that were hitherto not selling fuel prior to the DPR’s arrival, were forced to sell at the official pump price.