The Federal Government has threatened to sanction those profiting from the current petrol scarcity in the country.
To this end, it has directed the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to slam the hammer on them most of which are independent marketers.
“We have reports of profiteering by marketers, and I have directed NMDPRA to sanction anybody who profiteers on this kind of situation.
“I mean we cannot stand by and watch our citizens being exploited by marketers. But of course, I have given that directive and I don’t know if it has not taken effect.
“I don’t know the details of how far that directive has been carried out. But I’m going to still further give that directive, if that is still the situation.
“But definitely we are not paying a blind eye at all,” the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said on Wednesday in reaction to the hardships being experienced by Nigerians.
Sylva spoke while addressing State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.
On the likely impact of petrol scarcity on the forthcoming polls, Sylva said: “This is quite unfortunate, we are not happy at all about what is going on. Every hand is on the deck.
“As I said earlier, the Ministry of Petroleum is not in control of all the factors that lead to scarcity in the sense that there are Forex issues as well and other issues.
“But at the moment today, there is supply, but unfortunately we are experiencing some bottlenecks with the distribution and movement of the product to various destinations for now.
“I want to assure you that everything is being done; the NNPC Limited, NMDPRA, the marketers, everybody’s hands is on deck to ensure that this problem is resolved and to also inform you today we had a briefing from INEC.
“And INEC has also engaged NNPC and NNPC has assured INEC that petroleum products supply to INEC will not be a problem and so that will not likely affect the election at all.”
On the effectiveness of monitoring agencies under his ministry, Sylva said: “There are laws. You know how these things happen, there are definitely laws and this is a democratic system. Of course, they can’t go against the law themselves, the regulators can’t also go against the law.
“So it is only through the processes provided for by law that this regulations can be carried out. So I will direct an NMDPRA further to ensure that nobody profiteers on the citizens of Nigeria.”
FEC also approved N117 billion for the construction of the Oloibiri Oil and Gas Museum and Research Centre, more than six decades after oil was discovered in commercial quantities in the community.
“Council has approved a contract for the construction of the Oloibiri Oil Museum and Research Center to Messrs Julius Berger Plc at the sum of N117 billion with a completion time frame of 30 months.
“This project has been on the drawing board for so long. The first time foundation stone was laid for this project was in the early 80s by ex-President Shehu Shagari.
“So, this actually is a major milestone and it is expect to be a major legacy of Mr. President in the Niger Delta,” the minister said.
Also, the Ministry of Aviation secured approval for the maintenance and technical support for Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport for the sum of N712 million.
The Minister, Sen.Hadi Sirika said the contract has been awarded to CCECC with a completion period of 12 months.
On Nigeria’s new national carrier, he said: “Nigeria Air will soon start flying, we have got the aircraft ready, they are painted in national colours. We have crossed all the ts and dot the Is. We are at stage five of the AOC issuance by NCAA. Once that is done, the airline will begin to fly.“