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DPR Bemoans, Probes Arbitrary Siting Of Filling Stations In Ekiti




John Abiodun, Ado Ekiti

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has bemoaned the seemingly arbitrary manner in which some fuel marketers have sited their petrol stations at inappropriate places in Ekiti State.

Ondo/Ekiti states Controller of the regulatory body, Mr Wale Oseni, who said his team was already investigating activities of petrol marketers in the state, lamented that some of them were in the habit of constructing filling stations without notifying DPR or getting approval from the body.

Oseni, who led a team of DPR officials to the state, said during a visit to the Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, that fuel retail outlets were not supposed to be sited in certain areas such close to schools particularly if the schools had been in existence before the filling stations.

This is as the industrial action embarked upon by fuel marketers in the state entered day three yesterday, with residents facing hard times over inability to buy petroleum products at the various filling stations.

Just as fares have soared in the Ado Ekiti capital city and other parts of the state, motorists have resorted to driving out of the state to neighbouring Ondo and Osun states to buy petrol to keep their vehicles on the roads.

It has been tale of suffering and manhour loss at the NNPC Mega Station along Ado – Iworoko Road where the petroleum products are available.

Fuel marketers in the state had last Monday embarked on strike to protest what they described as high-handedness on the part of the Fayose-led state government which they said had clamped down on their filling stations and revoked their licences over sundry issues bordering on siting of the petrol stations.

The marketers, who suspended their action on Tuesday following intervention of traditional rulers and security agencies were peeved that the governor went ahead to demolish some filling stations over allegedly breaching safety considerations in siting, resumed the strike on Friday, closing their shops to customers.

Speaking on siting of filling stations beside schools and residential areas, Oseni said: “Safety comes first and as a regulatory body, there must be a synergy between the DPR and marketers to know appropriate sites where they would locate their stations. I will in due time make my findings available to marketers in the state”.

He cited a petrol station currently under construction at the Adehun Area of Ado-Ekiti, where the owners had failed to inform the DPR of its operation but instead tactfully covered up the construction work in order to keep it away from the public knowledge until it is completed.

According to him, such act is criminal, unacceptable and would not be tolerated.

Explaining the rationale behind his government’s recent clampdown on marketers said to have violated the DPR regulations, Governor Fayose disclosed that part of the efforts of the state government was to expose to the DPR, some alleged unwholesome under-dealings being perpetrated by some marketers.

The governor said: “We have taken some of the steps to make the DPR see the situation of things here and to afford you the opportunity to see the sites of the controversial filling stations

“As much as the government would want ventures under its watch to thrive, it will not do so at the detriment of the lives and properties of others. The last fire incident in the state capital has challenged us to be proactive rather than engaging fire brigade approaches.”

According to the governor, construction of the said filling station at the Adehun Area was stopped by his government because it was being built on water ways after the last administration had demolished structures on the same land to ensure safety of lives and property.

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