[DPR headquarters, Lagos. Office of the Public Complaints Officer]

Timi Akegbejo: Good afternoon.

DPR Agent: Good afternoon. You can sit down and state the purpose of your visit.

Timi Akegbejo: Thank you. I came here on a concerned citizen inquiry. I want to know why you have directed filling stations across Lagos to stop selling fuel in Jerrycans. I was told the order came from the DPR, can you confirm this?

DPR Agent: Yes, we gave the order.

Timi Akegbejo: Oh! why would the DPR give such insensitive order? Can you please explain the logical justification for this?

DPR Agent: In light of the fuel scarcity, we want to stop the illegal hoarding of petroleum products by black market dealers. Those criminals are bent on derailing the change agenda of president muhammadu buhari.

Timi Akegbejo: Oh i see. Noble effort there on your part. But why should law abiding citizens like myself suffer because the DPR wants to stop illegal hoarding of petrol? I don’t see the connection, do you?

DPR Agent: Have you not heard the saying “when wicked people suffer, innocent ones share their pain”?

Timi Akegbejo: OK. Enough of this back and forth that’ll get us nowhere. I and other law abiding nigerians need fuel for our generators, and the jerrycan is the best medium one can use to feed generators with fuel. What do you suggest we do?

DPR Agent: Do anything you like.

Timi Akegbejo: (Laughs) Anything? I hope you’re not suggesting we take our generators to the filling stations to buy fuel? Or are you?

DPR Agent: Our order is clear. Fuel will be sold in anything but jerrycans. So if you can take your generator there, or remove its tank i suggest you do so. Infact, you can go with your big pots, spoons, cups or what have you, we don’t care. Our war is with the jerrycan, especially the yellow ones.

Timi Akegbejo: Wow. You guys are really serious about putting a dent in the black market business.

DPR Agent: (smiles). Thank you. Those criminals must be defeated at all cost.

Timi Akegbejo: But wait, here’s a quick one. How do you know if folks that buy fuel in their cars, motorcycles and tricycles are not in fact hoarders? Let me also inform you, that all it takes, to transfer fuel from a car to a jerrycan, is a 200 Naira hose anybody can afford. I also believe hoarders don’t go to filling stations with the word boldly written on their foreheads. Oh wait………My bad. The DPR has installed a facial recognition software that spots hoarders as soon as they set foot in the filling stations. Or is it not ?

DPR Agent: Look here young man, It’s like you’re a black market dealer yourself. You don’t want us to spoil your business; hence your meandering loquaciousness.

Timi Akegbejo:(Laughs) Oh not at all. Moreover, the best way to stop illegal hoarding is by arresting those who are involved, and encouraging the public to stop patronizing them. That way the business would die a natural death. Or what do you think?

DPR Agent: You cannot question the policy of this department. We have Bsc, Msc and PHD holders working for us. Also let me add that our boss is a professor. The decision on the jerrycan is final and irrevocable

Timi Akegbejo: I now perceive your invective is directed at the jerrycan, not the hoarders who use the jerrycan to hoard fuel. Is it correct to say that?

DPR Agent: Very correct. Our war is with the Jerrycan, not the hoarders. The jerrycan is the problem.

Timi Akegbejo: But how can the jerrycan be the problem when it’s nothing but a lifeless object? Or can a jerrycan walk to the filling station, buy fuel, hoard it and sell it in the black market?

DPR Agent: Hold it there Mr concerned citizen. Stop your grand theorizing and don’t lecture me on what is, and what is not. Although not all jerrycans can walk, i have encountered many buying fuel in different filling stations. As a matter of factly we even arrested some of them, the jerrycans are in detention as i speak.

Timi Akegbejo: Wow. What a sight that must be. So you’re saying this turn-logic-on-its-head policy of yours will end the illegal hoarding of fuel?

DPR Agent: We hope so.



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