NSCDC arrests 12 petrol marketers for removing NMDPRA seals, harassing officials in Kogi

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By John Akinfehinwa

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, has arrested 12 petroleum marketers for removing the seals belonging to the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, and also harassing the agency’s surveillance team in Kogi State.

The Kogi Command made the arrest on Friday when they went around in collaboration with NMDPRA’s surveillance team to check the activities of some petroleum marketers whose filling stations were sealed for operating illegally.

It could be recalled that in June, NMDPRA in Kogi State shut down over 50 filling stations for under dispensing and operating without an NMDPRA storage and sale license.

Speaking on the recent arrest, the NSCDC spokesperson, Alex Agiri, said the suspected marketers were arrested in Lokoja, Idah, Ankpa, Ayingba, and Ajaokuta.

“One can’t quantify the hardship this oil subsidy removal has brought to the populace. The government is trying its best to see how the people who elected them to office have the privilege of enjoying the dividend of democracy.

“The government thought it is wise it is important to take off fuel subsidies so that the money can be channelled for better things to develop the country. On the other side, you will discover that those who are supposed to assist and collaborate with the Federal Government to see that this hardship is reduced to the barest minimum are the same people who are cutting corners.

“The 12 people arrested today by NSCDC in collaboration with NMDPRA have been found wanting in the areas of under dispensing, they are also harassing the officials of NMDPRA who are saddled with the responsibility of regulating their activities.

“The role of NSCDC is that we collaborate with the NMDPRA in making sure that anything that has to do with oil is taken with a keen interest in terms of dispensing, location of the product and many more. It is against the rule that when a filling station is found wanting and being sealed by this same Federal Government agency, a marketer will now go and remove the seal, begin to harass them or even beat them. That is a grievous offence.

“The Federal Government frowns at it, and the NSCDC that has the mandate to enforce this arrest in line with the laid down rules in conjunction with the NMDPRA, made the arrest of the 12 persons who have been found wanting. When you run foul of the law, the consequences will be meted out to those who are found wanting. These airing marketers will face the full wrath of the law.”

Agiri noted that the arrest should serve as a strong warning to other marketers, stressing that the NSCDC will work assiduously with the NMDPRA towards making sure that illegal marketers involved in cutting corners, are brought to book.

Also speaking, the state Coordinator, NMDPRA, Engr. Ogbe Orits Godwin said his surveillance team had been subjected to consistent harassment from some marketers who have violated the law.

“Our surveillance team must have access to all oil and gas facilities in Kogi State without fear, or intimidation from any source. Any marketers that tamper with NMDPRA seals will be handed over to the law enforcement agency for further prosecution.

“Marketers are hereby warned to follow all the gates of approval and upload all relevant documents required for the storage and sales license of their facilities.

“This marketers that have gone against the policies of the Government tampering with NMDPRA seals will be sanction for such infraction and the sum amount will be paid to the federation account or risk jail term as enshrined in the law”, he stated.

Giving an update on the activities of the agency in Kogi State, Godwin stated that the agency has a total of 96 filling stations with expired licenses out of which 50 were sealed and as of this week, 46 so far have gone online to renew their license and upload all relevant documents to perfect the registration with NMDPRA.

Meanwhile, NMDPRA, during the operation in collaboration with NSCDC, sealed Dokkalhairu Investment Nigeria Limited, Ajaokuta; and Swift Oil, Ajaokuta Junction, along Itobe Road, for under dispensing Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, while Oando filling station, Ajaokuta, was shut down for operating without a license and A.A Akeya located in Itobe was sealed for selling cooking gas illegally.

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