The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Eket field office, says it has sealed 44 filling stations for failure to renew their licenses in the state.
The Operations Controller of DPR in Akwa Ibom, Tamunoiminabo Kingsley-Sundaye, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Eket, Akwa Ibom, on Monday.
He said the licenses of the petroleum marketers expired two years ago and they did not deem it fit to renew them.
He said the filling stations were sealed when the department carried out routine inspection of filling stations in Uyo and its environs two weeks ago.
“The department has sealed 44 filling stations for refusing to renew their licenses in the state.
“If marketers do not renew their licenses, it means that they are doing illegal business in the state within the period their licenses had expired.
“Because there is no license or approval that covers the marketer, whatever business he or she was doing at that period, they are liable under the Law,” Kingsley-Sundaye said.
He noted that some of the offenders had started submitting applications to renew their licenses, and that some of the applications had been processed and sent to head office for issuance of license.
The Operations Controller said the filling stations that failed to renew the DPR’s license would pay a fine of N250, 000 and still pay their regular fees to the federal government.
He explained that the department had earlier held meetings with stakeholders to inform the marketers of its enforcement drive.
Kingsley-Sundaye said the department had given the marketers three months’ notice before enforcing the license renewal in the state.
He advised the marketers to always submit their documents for renewal three months before expiration.
He further said the department was carrying out audit and censor of filling stations operating in the state in order to know the state of their facilities.
The managers of some of the sealed filling stations declined comment when NAN visited their stations.
However, Aniete Bassey, a marketer at Matelbot Oil Nigeria Ltd., complained about delay in acquiring tax clearance from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) office in Uyo.
“To renew DPR’s license is not a problem but there is a lot of delay from FIR office in Uyo,” said Mr Bassey.