Fuel scarcity hurts Lagos
Throughout Lagos metropolis, the story was same. There were long queues of vehicles at various fuel stations, heavy traffic and stranded commuters at many bus stops.
The fuel scarcity also affected many small-scale businesses as many of the artisans could not get fuel to operate their businesses.
Several angry Lagosians who could not contain the rigour of searching for fuel from one corner of the state to another described the ongoing fuel scarcity as attempt to make the Christmas and New Year celebrations bleak .
From the Island to the Mainland the situation was same. There was long queue of motorists at filling stations while some petrol stations closed down completely.
The queue of motorists from some few stations that extended unto the highway also led to serious traffic in several parts of the state. For instance heavy traffic in Victoria-Island along Ozumba Mbadiwe Street yesterday was blamed on the long queue of vehicles from some of the stations.
The same situation was witnessed at Ikeja where commuters were stranded at various bus stops waiting for commercial busses. There was also a heavy traffic in Ikeja while many people moved about with jerry cans in search of fuel.
It was the same experience for those plying Mushin-Iyana-Isolo Ikotu Road. Since Monday the scarcity of petrol had made movement very difficult. There were few commercial busses while the queue for fuel also caused heavy traffic.
A driver, Tayo Salami told The Guardian that he spent over three hours from Iyana-Isolo to Ile-Iwe Bus Stop in Ikotun yesterday night.
While the situation was severe in the mentioned areas, those living in Sango, Alagbado, Egbeda and Iyana-Ipaja could not find enough words to describe the difficulties they have been going through since the fuel scarcity started on Monday.
As at 10.30 p.m. yesterday the entire stress from Cappa to Bolade Bus Stop at Oshodi was filled with hundreds of commuters waiting for busses.
The few buses around charged exorbitant fares, which most of the stranded passengers could not afford. Some of the drivers said the reason for the high fares was not because of the scarcity alone, they equally lamented the heavy traffic along Agege Motor Road since Monday the situation started.
From Ipaja to Iyana Ipaja, many of the filling stations did not operate. The AP Filling at Pako Bus Stop was the only one opened and there was long queue of vehicles.
Hundreds of passengers stranded at Iyana-Ipaja complained over the increase in transportation fares due to the traffic along the road.
A Civil servant Taiwo Gbadamosi said: “Transport fare from Iyana-Ipaja that used to be N100 was increased to N150 while from Sango to Oshodi was increased to N200”.
Commercial operators who were known for easy manoeuvre in the traffic could not find their way due to the bad state of the traffic.
A civil servant, Ola Adigun said he initially thought the traffic was caused by the approaching Christmas, saying: “I thought many people have started going out for shopping. However, when I noticed that many of the filling stations were shut, I was amazed as to the reason why it should be so.
“I wondered whether there is any speculation about increase in the pump price as this is the only reason why the filling stations would refuse to sell”.
She lamented that the hardship citizens of the country have been made to go through is unfortunate.
Those that experienced the hardship of the fuel scarcity at Jakande and Egigbo yesterday were nearly in tears. Apart from the traffic the exorbitant transport fare and the sufferings of people on queue to buy fuel was severe.
A trader Bola Ademola said, “It was a terrible situation for workers and traders who left their home early yesterday hoping to get to their various places of work.
“I left my house as early as 6.30 a.m. and could not get to office until 10.00 a.m. The traffic and the queue were still there till about 2.00 p.m”.
Several car owners had to abandon their vehicles and joined commercial motorcycles to meet their schedules.
Commuters going from Mile Two to Iyana-Iba, Okomaiko and beyond, also expressed concern over the present fuel scarcity and the hardship it has had on their movement.
Majority of them while stranded at various bus stops yesterday, told The Guardian the re-current situation in the country in the past few weeks was getting out of hand.
Some of them described the situation “as lack of sensitivity to the masses by the government.
While the situation continued, residents of Alagbado area had appealed to Lagos State government to intervene over the proposed Oro Festival scheduled to begin today.
According to a woman, who resides in the area the traditional authorities in the area had gone to the air to announce that Oro Festival would start today and there should be no movement from midnight till 4.00 a.m. for the next seven days.
“With the present state of fuel scarcity and the heavy traffic. I am sure that several people will stay on the roads beyond midnight. I want to appeal that something should be done to stop this else it would not be surprising that many people would get missing,” she said.
Reacting to the situation, the immediate past President, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) Mr. Peter Akpatason absolved the union of blame.
He explained that the union was either on strike or planning to go on strike.
He, however, blame the situation on the short supply from NNPC and the marketers.