Tortuous search for non-available fuel
Nigerians decry hardship, worsening scarcity of petrol
When President Muhammadu Buhari won the election and several characters began a trek campaign across the country to celebrate his victory, little did we know then that the change they promised us would resort to us trekking long distances to our destination. After a week of searching in vain for petrol, I think it’s time a few likeminded youths begin the trek campaign again, to force the president and Minister of Petroleum to action.”
That was Abiodun Olumayowa’s reaction to the lingering fuel scarcity, hoarding of fuel by oil marketers and the ridiculous price placed on petrol by black marketers, which has caused severe hardship to citizens across the country.
Abiodun is not alone in his agony. Presidential candidate of KOWA Party in the last general elections, Prof. Oluremi Sonaiya, yesterday took to her Twitter page to vent her frustration: “I just bought fuel at N160 per litre in Ipetumodu, near Ife. If this continues much longer, it will throw my budget off balance. I am a retiree,” she wrote.
A commercial bus driver, Akeem Lawal, yesterday also lamented to The Guardian how the fuel scarcity is inflicting untold hardship on his business. “I have been on this queue since 6.00a.m. It is past 3.00p.m., only God knows when it will get to my turn; that is, if I am lucky to buy. The struggle at the point of sale is so fierce that I cannot cope. Everyone wants to have his way, making it the survival of the fittest.
This is why we are imploring the Federal Government to get to the root of this scarcity. The Federal Government needs to remember that many of us depend on fuel for our daily bread. Many of us have families we are taking care of and relatives looking up to us for assistance. Children do not know there is no fuel to work; all they expect is for you to perform as a parent. Apart from their school fees, their daily request to be in school remains constant. I cannot go through this suffering without working for three days and not hike the fare from passengers.”
Despite claims by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) last week that it has begun regular supply of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to filling stations across the country, Nigerians still go through hard times to get the commodity.
Investigations revealed that many of the filling stations, which the NNPC had supplied fuel to, are either not selling at all or selling with one dispensing pump, thereby creating long queues of vehicles.
Exasperated by the oil marketers’ penchant for hoarding the product, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Kachikwu Ibe, had also last week gave the marching orders to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to ensure strict compliance by melting out appropriate sanctions on defaulting fuel stations. The minister even vowed to dispense free to citizens any outlet caught hoarding the product.
One week after the riot act was handed down, the situation is yet to abate with fuel queues dotting the nation’s landscape and compounding the traffic situation in many city centres. An average filling station dispensing fuel is like a battleground for fuel seekers of all categories: motorcyclists, tricycles operators, private car owners, commercial vehicle drivers, black market vendors and pedestrians with varying sizes of jerry cans and generating sets.