By CLEMENT NWOJI, Abuja

As fuel scarcity persists in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FACT) Abuja, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said it is stepping up the arrest and prosecution of erring marketers and fuel hawkers across the country.

The prevailing acute fuel scarcity in Nigeria has seen most motorists spending most hours day and night in queues at few fuel stations with limited stock for sale.

Also, commuters are passing through hardship having to foot the high cost of fuel per litre now still up to N300, through payment of hiked transport fares.

But the NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, said in a statement that the NNPC Special Task Force on Filling Stations Monitoring had made a series of arrests including two filling station managers who diverted 66,000 litres of petrol and six illegal hawkers of petrol in Abuja.

NNPC said it was part of efforts to sanitize the fuel supply and distribution system to eliminate the queues.

He said the two managers of Azman filling stations in Nyanya and Kuje, two suburbs of Abuja, were arrested after close monitoring by the team for diverting trucks of petrol meant for their stations to unknown destinations.

Explaining that they had been handed over to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps for prosecution, he said in addition to prosecution, the filling stations would pay a N250 fine for each litre of petrol diverted.

Also, he said the Task Force had arrested six persons in the Central Business District, Abuja, for hawking petrol in jerry-cans.

According to him, ” Three of the arrested persons – Samila Umar, Atlahim Abdullahi and Bashir Sani – were charged and prosecuted at the Area Court, Gudu, where Justice Sidi Bello sentenced them to two-month imprisonment or a N2,000 fine which they promptly paid. The other three who were arrested Tuesday were expected to be charged Wednesday.