The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has said that despite the current fuel crisis in the country, the Federal government was determined to ensure that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, establishes more mega fuel stations in order to tackle some of the challenges associated with product availability.
Kachikwu who is also the group Managing Director of the NNPC, warned against the hike in pump price of petrol by marketers, urging them to adhere to the official prices regulated by the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
At a press conference yesterday, Kachikwu addressed newsmen, saying: “There are many fillings stations we were trying to develop working with the governors in terms of land, local government areas. The idea is to be able to expand our wings in crisis period.
“Some of that is going to come with Joint Ventures with some filling stations, which are willing to do JVs with us and so the 800 are not going to be built anew.
“I have asked DPR to oil up their enforcement machine because they are not doing it as much as I want it to happen. And we are going to have security agencies if any filling station is found to be selling products above the pump price.
“We are going to seal those stations. We are going to sell the products for free. We will seal the stations and we are not going to reopen them until three months.”
The Minister vowed that the Federal Government will do it best to intensify the compulsory compliance with pump prices in rural areas.
He further noted, “I agree that we have not done enough in terms of hinterland protection and I believe we need to do more because the frequencies of these practices are more in the hinterland.
“Unfortunately those are the ones who even lack the resources to pay that kind of prices so we need to do more work,” Kachikwu added.
He disclosed that with the engagement of private security firms, the corporation was able to recover pipelines that were abandoned for many years.
“We are working to see how we can bring up pipelines back into the system between now and before early February,” the Minister reaffirmed.