The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Lagos on Wednesday sealed Oando filling station in Lekki area over alleged molestation of its officials while on enforcement visit.
Mr Usman Ndanusa, the Deputy Director and Head of Downstream Division of DPR, made this known to newsmen in Lagos.
Ndanusa said that operators of the station, which belonged to Mr Basiru Fakorede, molested the DPR officials while on inspection visit to the station on Dec.7.
“When the monitoring team of DPR visited the station on Dec.7, they were not selling petrol product to motorists. The DPR officials then challenged the station manager and attendants why they were not selling the product, whereas there were 32,000 litres in its underground tanks then.
“At this juncture, the staff of the filling station started molesting and insulting the DPR officials. If we allow this to go unchecked, our officials will not be free to perform their lawful duties.
“If DPR officials are being molested by all filling stations workers in the country, then, we won’t be able to carry out our inspection duty. To forestall recurrence, we decided to carry out a monitor sale and seal the station after exhausting the product,” he said.
The deputy director said that his officials would be on ground to ensure that all the 58,650 litres of petroleum in the underground tanks were sold to motorists before sealing the station.
“If there is no scarcity of fuel, we won’t have sealed the station outright, but because of scarcity, we want to monitor the sales and ensure that the petrol is sold to motorists. So, the dealer of the station will be invited to our office to defend his action.
“If he is able to justify this action, we will unseal his station, but if not, the department may revoke his licence. The department has written Oando management to stop supply to the station until he is able to defend his action,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fakorede has appealed to the management of DPR to temper justice with mercy over his action. Fakorede denied molestation of any official of DPR by his workers, adding that his men were selling the product when DPR team visited his station on Dec. 7.
He said that his men never denied the DPR officials access to his station, knowing that they have right to inspect filling stations nationwide.
“I expected the management of DPR to invite me to their office after the incidence, but I was surprised to see them coming to seal my station. I have been selling the product to motorists since Tuesday, because of long queue of vehicles.
“This is not the right time to seal my filling station because motorists will feel the impact. This is the only station that sells products 24/7. I’m sure it will really affect the motorists here,” he said.