The Department of Petroleum Resources has blamed the ongoing fuel scarcity in Port Harcourt and its environs on panic buying by members of the public.
The DPR said in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, that the unwholesome practices by fuel dealers were also affecting the availability of fuel to consumers.
Speaking with newsmen on Wednesday, the Zonal Operations Controller of DPR, Dr. Ibani Frank-Briggs, explained that adequate quantity of fuel had been supplied to last till the end of the year.
Frank-Briggs pointed out that though the agency had been moving round the state to stop the sharp practices exhibited by some marketers, it was difficult to cover the entire state due to the challenge of inadequate manpower.
He stated that while the problem of fuel scarcity was not peculiar to Port Harcourt, the DPR in the zone was tackling the issue in order to protect consumers.
“We want to assure you that we are in control; there is no need to panic and whatever thing you see is as a result of perhaps panic buying. We want to use this opportunity to inform members of the public that they should not panic.
“The products are available and the records at our disposal show that we have enough products to last us till the end of the year. Of course, we are aware that there are people (marketers) who are selling above the official pump price.
“Some are also hoarding the product (petrol) because of the festive season so that they can make quick money. On our part, we try to ensure that these practices are nipped in the bud by going on surveillance on a daily basis,” Frank-Briggs added.