Written by Sarah NEGEDU

Trade ministry seals filling stations in Abuja

The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, recently sealed some filling stations in the nation’s capital Abuja, for dispensing less fuel than was paid for by customers.

This action caused confusion, as observers questioned the right of any other government agency other than the Department of Petroleum Resources to address issues of under dispensing of petroleum product.

The enforcement team of the Weights and Measures Department of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment had sealed the pumps of the fuel stations of Forte Oil and Dan Oil in Abuja for overbilling unsuspecting customers.

The department has the mandate of ensuring that all commercial transactions involving the use of weights and measures are accurate, fair and legal.

The closure was carried out following investigation by the department which established that the affected fuel stations were indeed short-changing their customers.

Acting Director of the Department, Engineer Mohammed Sidi who led the inspection, said the Department discovered in multiple pumps at Forte Oil that for every 40 litres of fuel customers bought, they were overbilled by one litre.

The Department said this under-dispensing translated to cheating customers of N194, 000 for every 33,000 truck of fuel sold.

Addressing newsmen during the exercise, Mohammed said the closure became necessary following series of complaint from customers.

The pumps in Dan oil in Lugbe were also sealed for under dispensing. It was discovered that for every 20 litres that customers buy, they are cheated by over half a litre.

“It is a systematic type of short measuring because the errors of all of them are identical based on our findings. It cannot just be a coincidence that all of them will be having the same error outcome. So, there are more investigations that are going to be carried out.”

Mohammed said while the rate of compliance had improved, some others had yet to comply with the Weights and Measures Act.

“We advise consumers to be mindful of this weights and measures department. We need their support in terms of people telling us what they have observed of whatever transpired between them and a seller of a commodity. If you are cheated or you felt short - changed, just come over let us investigate the issue,” he added

Engineer Sidi announced the immediate revocation of the Weight and Measures licenses issued to both Forte Oil and Dan Oil pending when both companies comply with measuring standards set by the enforcement team.

He said the measure was essential to ensure that customers are not overcharged for less quantity of goods and sellers are not underpaid for more quantity of goods.

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