The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Akwa Ibom said on Monday that it had sealed 21 filling stations for operating without licenses and for non-renewal of licences.
The Operations Controller of DPR in the state, Tamunoiminabo Kingsley-Sundaye, disclosed this to journalists in Eket, Eket Local Government Area of the state.
Mr Kingsley-Sundaye, however, said that eight out of the sealed 21 filling stations had applied to renew their licenses.
“In our aggressive surveillance of filling stations in Akwa Ibom, 21 filling stations were sealed and their offences were mostly operating with expired licences and without DPR’s licences.”
“We found out that four filling stations took over from the former management to form a new company,” he said.
The operations controller further said that the department clamped down on four illegal Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) refilling points in Uyo, the state capital.
“People just rent a two-room apartment, connect some pipes to 50kg cylinder and do some constructions that are unknown to any engineering standard,” he said.
Mr Kingsley-Sundaye said that the constructions were dangerous to the public and described the business as an offence.
He said that the department, in collaboration with sister agencies, had dismantled three out of the four illegal LPG refilling points.
“One is still under seal; we will dismantle it because such a business is illegal. I don’t know where they got the idea from; we can’t call this technology,” he said.
He warned the operators or people who want to venture into the illegal business to desist from it or face the wrath of the law.
The operations controller said that anyone caught engaging in the business would be taken to court to serve as a deterrent to others.
“We must make sure that we insist on doing the right thing in this state. There is no safety device, no engineering design and no environmental safety in such a business.
“If we don’t act fast, it will be like the one we experienced in our neighbouring state.
“We will not allow it to degenerate into that level and that is why we are clamping down on them,” he said.
Mr Kingsley-Sundaye called on the public to report the existence of such illegal LPG refilling points to the law enforcement agencies or DPR for proper action.