Mr Peter Ijeh, the South East Zonal Controller of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has blamed the Independent Petroleum Marketers for the chaos in the sector.
Ijeh said this in a paper entitled “The Role of Government in Sanitising the Petroleum Markets” on Wednesday in Awka at a summit organised for the marketers.
The theme of the summit is “Sanitising the Petroleum Sector: The Role of the Government and the Private Sector”.
The occasion was the First Anambra Petroleum and Lubricants Dealers Summits organised by the Office of Senior Special Adviser to Gov. Willie Obiano on NUPENG, Petroleum and Union Matters for industry players to cross fertilise their ideas.
He said government had put in place rules and regulations that guide the market.
Ijeh blamed some of the challenges in the sector on the unwillingness of marketers to adhere to these rules.
He said issues of adulteration might not be deliberate but due to environmental and operators lackluster attitude to safety.
According to him, some marketers who build filling stations or gas plants do so without approval from the DPR or town planning agency, and when they are stopped from going further they go to any length to beg us.
“Most transportation trucks are expired and not worthy to be on the roads, a Bill is in process to ensure that all tanks on our roads are fitted with double safety valve to ensure that when there is a fall, products will not spill.
“DPR does not approve gas plants in a filling station or outlets in residential areas,” he said.
In his speech, Mr Peter Nwosu, the organiser of the summit said though the event had been conceived before the recent tanker accidents, the idea was to demonstrate Anambra government’s determination to protect its citizens.
He said Anambra had a big petroleum market and marketers which underscored the need for government to engage the stakeholders towards evolving a sane downstream sector.
“This summit was borne out of the emerging demands and needs in the petroleum sector in Nigeria and Anambra in particular.
“The outcome from it will lay the foundation to a possible legislative framework that will improve the viability of the sector in Anambra,” he said.
The summit was declared open by Gov. Obiano who was represented by Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, the Secretary to the State Government.
In his keynote address, a guest lecturer, Chief Linus Ilozue described the petroleum market in Anambra and Nigeria in general as ubiquitous given the high demand for petroleum products in the homes, firms, roads and general operation of the economy.
Ilozue, who is the Managing Director of A-Z Oil, Nnewi said there was so much illegality in the distribution, transportation and dispensing of Premium Motor Spirit, Kerosene and Liquefied Petroleum Gas.
The engineer said the way the petroleum market was currently run was not amenable to a situation where customers get full value for their money and confidence because of sharp practices in quality and dispensing of product.
According to the keynote speaker, filling stations and gas stations were built without industrial standards and approval, illegal levies and extortion abound in the industry from the depots through transportation via drivers and dispensing outlets.
“Most 12.5kg LPG cylinders in circulation are expired, sold in the open markets and transported wrongly while fire hydrants are not available at plants or fire extinguishers either empty or absent.
“A lot of imported packaged lubricants of poor standards are in the market today, these lead to low value for money, explosions in the open market, “he said.
Ilozue applauded Nwosu, for organising the Summit with critical stakeholders to meet minds on the Anambra petroleum market.
He said the summit would lead to a more sanitised sector with minimal losses to players.
He called on the Standards Organisation of Nigeria and the DPR as well as Fire Service to increase their supervision and surveillance to enable the Anambra Government achieves the ideals of the summit.