Motorists and residents of Igbobgo community in Ikorodu area of Lagos State filled their tanks and gallons with fuel for free when the management and attendants at a Mobil filling station in Igbogbo fled at the sight of the monitoring team of the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
The PPPRA team has been on tour of filling stations in Lagos in response to the outcry of the masses over the excessiveness of some unscrupulous filling stations owners who are creating artificial scarcity of the product through hoarding and indiscriminate inflation of pump price.
Buyers at the station told journalists that the operators fled when they got information that the PPPRA monitoring team was on its way to their station.
They alleged that the station was selling above the official pump price of N145 per litre and were also engaging in other sharp practices, including making the product available only to the highest bidder.
Muyideen Adesokan, a commercial bus driver, narrated that it was almost his turn to buy when the attendants shut down the pumps.
“They have fuel and have been selling at N180 a litre. It was when they heard that taskforce was coming that they closed and chased us away,” he claimed.
A tricycle operator who identified himself as Waterboy Omolore corroborated the claims while Samson Olarewaju, a motorcyclist, further alleged that the station sold at N250 at nights and attendants often demanded a N100 as bribe before the product is dispended to the individual.
When officials of the PPPRA put a call through to the manager of the station to inform him that they would take up the dispensation of fuel to the people at no cost if he did not show up, he stated that he was away and could not come down therefore requested that the station’s generator operator called the supervisor or any other staff.
When efforts to get any of them to come down proved abortive, the team decided to make the product available to the people free of charge.
At REMDABSON Oil and Gas Limited, Ikorodu, it was observed that out of the three pumps with double nozzles, only one nozzle was being used to dispense fuel. Ezekiel Akinbiyi, a commercial bus driver, who was visibly angry, alleged that the station was selling at N185 per litre, yet for every 10 litres, an extra charge of N250 was made.
When the manager of the station, Yetunde Remdabson, was contacted, she said: “My attendants will not be stupid to sell above the N145 price.”
She stated that all the other nozzles were bad, adding that they were not selling to persons with big gallons also.
At Total filling station, Ikorodu Garage, there was a long queue as the station was selling at the right price and all their pumps were working.
However, it was observed that most of the filling stations in Ikorodu were either under lock and key or open but with no activity going on in them.
Sources said it might not be unconnected with their inability to get the product from the depots. There were also claims that the cost of lifting fuel from the depot might equally be a factor leading to the closure of many stations in the area and the attendant hardships on the masses.