QUEUES AT FILLING STATIONSThe Federal government has instructed the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to dispense fuel free to customers from any station found hoarding products.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu gave the directive on Tuesday when he toured some selected fuel stations in Abuja to appraise the fuel supply situation.

Kachikwu who assured Nigerians that government has taken strong measures to address the fuel scarcity, however, stressed that serious penalties would be imposed on any station found to be hoarding fuel.

As part of efforts to address supply shortfalls, NNPC Group Managing Director instructed most stations to stay open for 24 hours as the police will provide protection for them.

At the NNPC, Forte Oil and Conoil stations visited by the minister within Abuja city, there were chaotic scenes of motorists with vehicular movements heavily impeded.

But speaking after the inspection at the Conoil station located opposite the NNPC towers, he said sealing fuel stations was not the answer but penalizing them.

On the N413bn subsidy payment to oil marketers approved by the President which is awaiting Senate approval, he disclosed that discussions were on with the Senate president for a speedy consent.

He identified some of the causes of the fuel queues to include the inability of the pipelines to function effectively, delay in the payment of petroleum subsidy to marketers who have stopped importing products as only NNPC has been importing petrol and trucking problem out of Lagos especially within Apapa corridor.

Meanwhile, the DPR said that a total of 149 trucks of petrol were supplied to Abuja and its environs on Tuesday. DPR Abuja Spokesman, Mr Mohammed Saidu said the total number of PMS supplied to Abuja between Monday and Tuesday has reached 294 trucks. Saidu who said the measure was to ease off fuel queues at filling stations in the city explained that 99 trucks were supplied inside Abuja city alone yesterday.

Similarly, the truck out of PMS from NNPC depots across the country as at Monday indicated that 38.2million litres were supplied.

6.6m litres was supplied from Suleja depot, Kaduna 1.8m litres, Kano 6.1m litres, Minna 300,000, Gusau 3.4m litres, Mosimi 4.2m litres, Satellite 3.4m litres, Illorin 629,000, Ore 832,000; Ibadan 413,000; Gombe Area 5.2m lires, Benin 331,000; Aba 179,995; Makurdi 1.5m; Enugu 2.9m lires of PMS.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said that it was outraged by the lingering fuel scarcity which has led to increase in prices of essential commodities and long queues in different parts of the country.

By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)

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