Wednesday, 27th September 2023

Fuel hawkers return to Lagos roads over scarcity

By Bertram Nwannekanma and Benjamin Alade
01 June 2023   |   5:25 am
It was reminiscent of the old order as fuel hawkers, yesterday, returned to Lagos roads, following fuel scarcity and long queues at few stations dispensing the product.

Fuel hawkers at Gbagada area of Lagos yesterday<br />PHOTO: AYODELE ADENIRAN

It was reminiscent of the old order as fuel hawkers, yesterday, returned to Lagos roads, following fuel scarcity and long queues at few stations dispensing the product.

The hawkers offered ready alternatives for motorists,  who could not withstand the long  queues or were in a hurry to meet their appointments.
Some of them are more visible near fuel stations and busy roads, and contribute to traffic congestion in the city.

President Bola Tinubu had in his inaugural speech  announced an end to  fuel subsidy, forcing marketers to hoard the products, while few others hiked their prices from between N400  and N550 depending on the location.

At  Ketu Alapere and  Gbagada along Oshodi –Oworonsoki expressway, the fuel hawkers could be spotted close to AP petroleum, carrying different sizes of jerry cans filled with petrol and running after motorists with the intent to persuade them to buy from them.

Along with their jerry cans of petrol, they are always with a hose to help a customer discharge the petrol from the jerry cans to their cars in exchange for a handsome price.

One of them, who gave his name as Kayode, said he sells a 10 litres  keg of fuel between N8,000 and  N10,000 depending on  the buyer’s  bargaining power.

According to him, they were only cashing in on the impatience of motorists to make ends meet.
Another hawker at  Murtala Muhammed  International Airport (MMIA) Road, said they had to struggle to get the product from petrol station attendants, which entails tipping them to get the product easier for onward sale to motorists.

The hawker, who refused to give his name, said:  “I pay an extra N2,000 to buy 25 litres before the scarcity, because not all stations sell to residents with gallons, they only sell to motorists, cyclists and tricyclists.
“Now they have added price, due to the scarcity. The management is now very strict, to get the staff to smuggle these gallons is very difficult.”

Meanwhile,  Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has advised motorists, including members of the public against unsafe fuel storage inside vehicles, homes, markets and workplaces.

The General Manager, LASTMA, Bolaji Oreagba, said this yesterday while deploying more officers on  traffic monitoring around filling stations, including other traffic-prone areas across the state.

He said the public needs to be cautioned against the possibility of a fire outbreak or explosion if there is a source of ignition such as a naked flame or an electrical spark near the stored petrol.
“Landlords and tenants should shun inappropriate storage of fuel at homes and public places. Filling Stations must equally avoid dispensing fuel in polythene bags to avoid tussle that can spark off a fire incident,” he added.

The General Manager cautioned motorists queuing up for fuel at different filling stations not to cause traffic congestion and hinder other road users.

Oreagba disclosed that the deployment became imperative following reports of long queues around filling stations caused by motorists parking indiscriminately and blocking roads while queuing to buy fuel.

He expressed displeasure at the disorderly behaviour of some drivers, who queued up haphazardly around filling stations, disrupting the free flow of traffic.

He urged petrol attendants and marketers to ensure that products are sold in an orderly manner, to avoid infringing on the rights of other road users.

He said: “Buying fuel is not an excuse to impede traffic flow across the state.  We want our roads to be free and will not want fuel queues to constitute a burden for other road users across the state,” he said.
Oreagba stressed that efficient traffic management has remained crucial in the attainment of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s seamless multi-modal transportation system in Lagos.

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