Lagosians lament charges on kegs at petrol stations
“Sometimes, I wonder whether being a Nigerian is a crime. We are not given electricity, which should be the major priority and obligation of any serious government to its citizens. When we strive on our own to provide same for ourselves, we are surcharged for doing that. What is our crime in this country?”
This was the bitter complaint by Nkem Nwuche, a resident of Ire-Akari Estate, Isolo, a Lagos suburb at a petrol station in his area.
Nkem had gone to purchase N2,000 petrol to power his generator so his household could sleep at night amidst the hot weather witnessed in the country.
He was there observing the meter only for the fuel attendant to dispense N1,900 worth of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) into his keg. When he sought to know what the deducted N100 was for, he was told that it was money for the keg.
He asked: “When has buying petrol in a keg for use in generators become a crime? Did Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) give us electricity and we refused to use it, opting rather for our generators? Why should someone pay a charge for buying fuel with his own keg in a country where people depend on personal generators for electricity?”
This unfortunately has become a trend and the order of the day by petrol stations’ attendants across the state.
Investigation by The Guardian reveals that filling stations’ attendants charge customers N20, and at times up to N200, as surcharge for buying fuel in kegs, depending on the size of the jerry cans and the amount one is buying.
But surprisingly, this charge does not apply to people who go to the filling stations in their cars to buy the product. As long as you walk into the station with a keg to buy fuel you are bound to be surcharged.
In view of this ugly development, Mr. Bright Umoro, a resident of Mushin, wondered why it is the ordinary people in the country that are subjected to this kind of discriminately treatment.
In his words: “It really beats my imagination. It has been difficult for me to come to terms on why the charge on kegs is enforced only to non-motorists. It angers me to think of it in line of the society’s treatment of the rich and the poor because I have not understood why one will walk into a filling station to buy petrol for his generator in a keg and he is surcharged, while another drives in and buys in the same keg and his full product dispensed to him?
“When will the oppression of the poor in this country stop?
“I once questioned one of the fuel attendants why there is this discrimination and she told me that if I don’t want to be charged, I should come along in my own car. She even told me that alternatively, I should come along with my generator so that the product can be dispensed directly into it.”
When The Guardian asked one of the station’s attendants at Isolo why they surcharge people who come to the station to buy fuel in kegs? Her reply was: “Na where person the work him de chop.”
Nkem, while appealing to the relevant authorities to wade into this matter to avoid confrontations at the petrol stations by aggrieved customers, which might turn ugly, because people were already tensed up by the frustration caused by lack of electricity and could therefore vent out their anger on those extorting money again from them at the filling stations said: “N100 can buy me a litre of petrol plus some fractions, and for one to deduct it from me is a touch on my nerves.”