Fuel scarcity bites harder, product sells at exorbitant prices
DESPITE assurances from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the current fuel scarcity would not tarry, the scarcity bit harder yesterday as consumers of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly known as petrol bought the product at exorbitant rates in parts of the country amid long queues at the few dispensing stations that opened for business.
Expectedly, the development has resulted in skyrocketing of transportation fares and prices of foodstuffs.For instance, petrol sold at varying high prices between N120 and N150 in Lagos yesterday. Even where the product went for the official N87 per litre, our reporter learnt that a N200 bribe per vehicle was demanded as extra.
It was also learnt that while most stations retained the pump price of N86.50 on their dispensing machines, the attendants were however, selling far beyond the amount, deploying calculators to work out the cost of the number of litres at a pre-determined price.
Frustrated motorists recounted similar experiences in Abuja, Imo, Rivers, Ekiti and Oyo states where the search for petrol had become more intense, thus making the black marketers smile to the bank.
A visit to a number of filling stations by our reporters in Lagos captured the suffocating pains citizens had gone through.“These queues are there because the fuel is limited in supply and there are so many cars parked. You can see that on this street alone where we have about four petrol stations, only this one is selling petrol,” a customer in one of the petrol stations said.
Another, identified as Tosin Fashoro, said: “I have been on the queue for several hours and the petrol station sold at the normal price of N87 but they still collected a bribe of N200 per car. We are really suffering in this country.”
Also, Peter Oguns who spoke to The Guardian at a petrol station on Ikorodu Road noted: “We are tired of the situation as those selling the fuel opened their fuel pumps and close them as they liked. They are hoarding the fuel, but they sell at night and this is very bad.”
An exasperated Chima Eze, a car owner at Yaba area said: “I have no option but to resolve to black market. At least I get fuel even if the price is very high at least it is without the stress of queuing at filling stations.”
The Guardian took a step further to talk to some of the ‘black market’ vendors who confessed selling 10 litres of the product at N3,000.
“It is not our fault, we are not the cause of fuel scarcity, it is the government. We have to make our money,” one of them said.
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