The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), in Niger has appealed to the State Government to extend the approved daily operational deadline given petroleum products marketers to sell fuel to motorists in the state.

Alhaji Abdullahi Jankara, Operations Controller of DPR in the state made the appeal during an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna on Friday.

“We have written to the Niger state government to increase the time allowed by motorists and other people to purchase fuel daily.

“The reason is to enable the DPR to monitor activities at the petrol stations effectively and avoid overcrowding to prevent Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19),” he said.

Jankara said that petroleum marketers in the state were only allowed to sell products to motorists and other people between the hours of 7am and 10am daily.

He said that two weeks into the state government’s movement restriction order, the DPR had reviewed its activities and found out that there was need to extend the approved three hours given to petroleum marketers to operate.

“We have been going out to monitor filling stations and we found out that people crowd the various filling stations due to the short time given to the petroleum marketers to operate daily,” he said.

The DPR Controller said that the major oil marketers in Minna had complied with the Federal Government’s directive for reduction of pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to between N125 and N123.50k against the old prices of between N145 and N143 per litre.

“The major oil marketers in Minna have complied with the directive, except for two marketers who we sanctioned and they have since corrected their mistake,” he said.

He said that the Department was concentrating its operations within the urban areas of the state until after the restriction order would have been relaxed before they could move into the rural areas.

Jankara said that DPR would in no time come up with Smart Inspection with the aid of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to monitor the activities of oil marketers across the country.

He said that the measure was to ensure that they complied with the guidelines and regulations of the DPR.

NAN recalls that the state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Bello, had on March 23, imposed curfew in the state, forbidding movements between the hours of 8am and 8pm.

He noted that the curfew which came into effect on March 25 was part of government’s measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

The Governor, however, relaxed the curfew and shifted the restricted time from 8am to 10 am and until 8pm daily to afford members of public more time to meet their daily needs without clustering together.