Agonies Of Epileptic Power Supply, Fuel Scarcity And Hike
SAYING that Nigeria is a country where people are suffering, complaining and at the same time smiling is like stating the obvious. Sometimes, if not most times, the people are even the ones giving excuses for the shortcomings or failures of their leaders, either out of sheer ignorance, deep-rooted interest, emotional or religious sentiments. No wonder some of their leaders have described them as docile people.
For the past few weeks preceding the exit of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led Federal government of 16 years, Nigerians irrespective of status have been faced with the difficulties of having two essential human needs namely fuel and steady power supply.
In the last two week plus, the streets of Lagos, Abuja and other cities have often witnessed regular movement of Nigerians with jerry cans moving from one filling station to another in search of fuel to light their homes.
Stranded commuters are also being seen trekking from homes to markets and offices in the absence of commercial vehicles that have stopped plying the roads, due to scarcity of the fuel or hike in price.
Some of the commercial drivers who manage to get fuel at unofficial price charge higher fare. In most petrol filling stations in Lagos for example, there is no fuel. Some stations that have fuel are either hoarding it or selling above official price.
While some sell N150 per litre, others sell between N130 and N140. Even the consumers struggle to buy it due to the crowd queuing to buy the product.
While some have to sleep over at the stations to be able to buy, others resort to rushing to the stations early in the morning to queue for it. Those who may not withstand the rigour due to the nature of their jobs, stress or time constraints resort to buying from black market at any price.
While the scarcity has continued to bite harder on the people, black market operators have also continued to make enormous financial gain out of the situation as they sell the product at exorbitant price.
As Nigerians grapple with the biting fuel scarcity, the epileptic power supply is adding more salt to their injuries.
This is because, before now most Nigerians including government agencies have found solace in the use of generators to electrify their homes and offices in the face of poor power supply.
But with the persistence fuel scarcity across the country in the last couple of weeks, the experiences and situation are becoming unbearable and demand urgent solution.
There is no doubt that Nigeria is the sixth largest producer of crude oil, but without a functional refinery in the last 15 years. Despite promises by successive governments to build refinery, Nigerians are yet to see one.
Even the refineries that were built by the military regimes have decayed due to lack of proper maintenance.
For several years now, the country has depended on the import of fuel and other petroleum products to service the need of her citizens. This gave room for the payment of subsidy claim for the product.
As years passed by, the subsidy cost has continued to increase by leaps and bound. The present fuel scarcity is attributed to the disagreement over subsidy payment between the government and the marketers, but the worry is that it has remained unresolved.