Marketers tackle DPR, others over alleged sharp practices
THE Cross River State chapter of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN) has protested against what it termed “fraudulent practices” by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
The marketers, in the peaceful march to the Governor’s Office in Calabar, alleged that the regulator, in connivance with major petroleum depots in the state capital, was selling Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol above the approved price of N77.66k per litre.
They claimed that they pay as much as N82 per litre to get the product from major depot owners in Calabar.
The development, many citizens fear, could result in a fresh fuel crisis in the state if not swiftly addressed.
Leader of the protesters, Alhaji Mohammed Abbas, alleged that they pay the approved N77.66k per litre through the bank while the extra N4.50 is being paid directly in cash to the depot owners to evade evidence of payment.
Abbas said they took the protest to Governor Ben Ayade because they learnt that the government was getting part of the extra 20k charges on the loading cost imposed by the Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD).
“We have recurring problems with the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) and the Department of Petroleum Resources over fraudulent practices at major depots in Calabar,” he stated.
Wielding placards like ‘help us fight illegal task force on PTD’, ‘no more bulk buyer, no 20k’, among others, they also accused the tankers’ union of collecting N25, 500 as loading fee per tanker as against the N10, 500 approved by government.
A marketer, King Bassey, said: “We are against the extra and hidden charges. The illegal collection of 20k per litre of petrol from marketers by the PTD is wrong.
“There are other charges we pay and it is not good for us because at the end of the day, we cannot sell at government-approved pump price and break even.”
Reacting, the DPR’s Controller of Operations in charge of Cross River and Akwa Ibom states, Asuquo Antai, said he had reported the matter to the Department of State Security (DSS) for proper investigation.
He decried the non-mentioning of any major depot that was involved in the supposed shady deals.