Friday, November 20, 2015

Fares go Up as Fuel Scarcity Cripples S’East

Awka —Fares have gone up on most routes in Anambra State following increase in the price of fuel from the normal N87 per litre to about N200 in most filling stations.

Added to the ordeal of motorists in the state is the shady deal by officials of NNPC mega station in Awka which has resorted to selling fuel at night to other independent marketers who, in turn sell at exorbitant prices in their stations.

FILE PHOTO: THE AGONY CONTINUES —The crowd and long queues of jerry cans at Capital Oil filling station, along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, yesterday. Below right: Stranded commuters' option B in Lagos, also yesterday. Photos:Lamidi Bamidele with NAN.

Apart from the NNPC mega station along the Enugu –Onitsha expressway in Awka, no other mega station in the state has been selling fuel in the past two weeks, although people passing through such stations at night say they see trucks loaded with drums collecting fuel from those stations.

Many independent filling stations do not sell any longer, thus creating scarcity. The effect of the high cost of fuel is that many vehicles have been off the road, thereby eliminating the usual traffic on most major roads in the state.

As a result of the hike in the price of fuel, transport fare from Awka to Onitsha which used to be N200 has increased to N300, while a journey from Onitsha to Enugu has increased from N300 to N500.

Also, those travelling from Awka to Abuja and Lagos now pay N8000, as against N4000 paid previously on Toyota Siena.

In Abia, fuel scarcity has crippled economic and social activities as motorists find it difficult to fuel their vehicles.

Also due to protracted power outage in parts of Umuahia, the state capital, particularly around Factory Road area that share transformer with government House, the people have been groaning in darkness as they can't get fuel to operate their generators.

In Aba, a litre of petrol is dispensed by markerters at N200 while at the black markert, it is sold at between N250 and N300.

In Umuahia except at the NNPC filling station on Enugu-Port Harcourt express-way with a queue that stretches over four kilometres, other marketers sell between N180 and N200.

The story is not different in Imo State where several vehicle owners have parked their cars, following the soaring pump price of premium motor spirit, PMS, which now goes for N200 and above per litre, in the state.

Vanguard investigations revealed that intra and inter-state travelers are now passing through very hard times, following the prevailing fuel scarcity and the attendant high cost of transport fares.

Vehicular flow along the streets of Owerri, have largely become scanty, while most residents now walk to and from their offices and markets.

A petroleum marketer, who spoke on strict grounds of anonymity, said that the cabals are at work again in the petroleum sector.

"The truth is that the cabals are at work again in the petroleum sector. The present administration should do well to ask Dr. Goodluck Jonathan what he did to keep the cabals at bay, during his tenure. This is not the change Nigerian voted for", the marketer said.

He lamented that only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, mega station in Owerri, was dispensing PMS to motorists in Owerri and at the official price.

"The queue from this mega station along Onitsha Road has snaked into Orlu Road, and this is a distance of more than three kilometers. This is not good for our economy", the marketer reasoned.

Meanwhile, as at the time of going to press, Imo State government had not made any official statement on the issue.

In Enugu, motorists and residents in Enugu State are wearing long faces following the sudden hike in the price of petrol which sells for N180 a litre as against the Federal Government's approved pump price of N87 per litre.

This development has occasioned long queues stretching beyond 3kilometers at major filling stations where PMS is sold at N87.

At filling stations located in the outskirts of Enugu metropolis, PMS sells for N200 and above while black marketers had a field selling at N300 per litre especially in the evenings when the few available stations must have closed for the day.

When Vanguard moved around Enugu metropolis, few major filling stations that had PMS witnessed long queues while most independent marketers had run out of supply.

Further checks revealed that some independent marketers shut their gates to motorists during working hours while they open to black marketers in the night at suffocating prices.

At one of the major filling stations located on Rangers Avenue,a motorist,Mrs. Uche Levi lamented that N1,000 which used to purchase more than ten liters of PMS for her vehicles,could barely afford eight liters following the prevailing situation.

"The situation has gone one for long now. Look at the cue! I have spent one hour to purchase fuel here because they sell at approved pump price. If you go to other independent marketers, it sells for N110 or more. The quality of the PMS is also a source of worry. We try to buy from major marketers because a measure of quality control persists in their operations. Obviously,the situation has also increased transport fares. Most commuters now trek long distances as a result. Most motorists are clutching gallons to fetch fuel.

"We are calling on the Federal Government to quickly stem this tide. We had glimpses of President Muhammad Buhari's fight on corruption. But the present situation is stage managed by corrupt officials at the Department of Petroleum Resources,DPR and tank farm owners. Prices of food items especially those conveyed from northern part of the country have skyrocketed as a result".

AbleMoJah® Nigeria.

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