The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment on Wednesday in Abuja sealed five gas stations during its surveillance exercise on stations short-changing their customers.
The Director, Weights and Measures Department in the Ministry, Mr Hassan Ejibunu, said that the activities of the gas stations violated Section 25 of the Weights and Measures Act.
The sealed stations are Merigas Refill Centre, Wuye, Vinegas, NIPCO Gas in Jabi and Banner Gas outlets in Zones 1 and 4.
“All the outlets we have visited are under-dispensing to members of the public.
“If you are buying 12. 5 kg of LPG what they are selling to you is 11kg, so they are taking away .5 which is a lot.
“It is against Weights and Measures Act and any station that engages in such thing must be sanctioned.
“As you can see, we have gone ahead to seal all those outlets that contravened the Weights and Measures Act,’’ Ejibunu said.
While appealing to gas stations to desist from such sharp practices, Ejibunu assured that the ministry would replicate the exercise across the country.
“We will continue to do our work so that equity and fairness would be entrenched by all the marketers in Nigeria.
“It is the wish of the ministers and the permanent Secretaries going by the mandate given to them by the presidency to ensure that legal methodology is applied,” the Director said.
He added that the exercise embarked upon by the ministry was prompted by a series of customers’ complaints of irregularities by gas outlets.
Ejibunu pointed out that the gas stations would be unsealed when the anomalies are rectified, adding that the affected outlets would have to pay fines to the government.
“There is an amount to that stated on our table of fees,’’ he added.
Ebijinu urged Nigerians to always weigh their cylinders before and after refilling to avoid being cheated and stressed the need to report any malpractice by gas outlets to the ministry’s Department of Weights and Measures for appropriate actions.
Mr Solomon Ndujekwu, Plant Supervisor, Vinegas, said that operating the pumps without certification is an oversight on the part of the management of the outlet.
He expressed the outlet’s commitment to always operate in conformity with the appropriate standard, pledging that any error would be corrected.
A customer, Mrs Vivian Okoro, expressed confidence in Vinegas having patronised them for over five years.
Okolo, however, urged the government to always monitor the activities of the gas outlets to check any malpractice.
Earlier, Mr Kunle Olubiyo, President of Nigeria Consumer Protection Network, an NGO, expressed worry that some gas outlets deploy different tactics to cheat unsuspecting customers.
“Recently I refilled my 12kg cylinder but only for it to finish in nine days; no doubt I was cheated,” Olubiyo said.
Newsmen report that some of the gas outlets visited sold 1kg of gas between N640 and N696 and refill 12kg cylinder for N8,352.
Another customer, Eunice Aduda, urged the Federal Government to intervene in the rising cost of cooking gas.
She added that the purpose of advocating the use of clean energy may be eroded where many Nigerians find it difficult to buy cooking gas at a cheap price.