• Sunday, May 19, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

NMDPRA, NUJ warn against hoarding as fuel scarcity bites hard

Reminiscences of fuel scarcity

By Remi Feyisipo, Ibadan; Olubunmi Oladejo, Osogbo & Sikirat Shehu, Ilorin

As the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petroleum (petrol), spreads across cities and towns of the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) have warned against hoarding of the product, saying Nugerians don’t deserve untold hardship being experienced.

In different cities and towns of the Country, including Osun, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Kwara, Kogi, Edo, Niger, among others, there were long queues in some filling stations that had the product, while many closed their doors, prompting the fuel to be sold between N800 and N1,200 per litre.

While NMDPRA in Osun State warned petroleum marketers in the State against hoarding of the product as well as against panic buying, hoarding and storing of petroleum products at home, NUJ, Oyo State Council, condemned in strongest terms, the lingering petrol scarcity across the Country which had brought untold hardships on the citizens and the residents alike.

A statement issued by Adekunle Adeyemo, NMDPRA Osun State Coordinator on Monday in Osogbo, however said that surveillance team of the agency would be all out to ensure that no filling stations hoard the product.

Adeyemo said that any marketers caught hoarding the fuel or engaging in any form of sharp practices would be dealt with according to the dictates of the law, promising that the agency would intensify its monitoring and surveillance of outlets in line with its regulatory mandate to ensure compliance with quality, quantity and safety of operations.

“We want to appeal to independent marketers who have petroleum products in stock to stop hoarding. It will be inhuman for those who have the product to be hoarding and inflating the pump price.

Read also: IPMAN threatens to halt petroleum products supply nationwide over N200bn debt

“The surveillance team of the agency is already out to ensure that those who have the product dispense it to motorists at reasonable price. However, any filling station caught hoarding the product with the view of inflicting pains on the masses will not be spared.

” Yes, there might be a little challenge in the supply process, but relevant government agencies are doing everything possible to ensure that the situation is normalise.

” We will not fold our hands while some few individuals will inflicting undue pain on the residents of the state by hoarding the products”, he said.
But, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), lamented that the scarcity and price increase from N750 to N800 per litre had exacerbated the economic crisis and unfavourable inflation rates in Oyo and the Country at large.

Sola Oladapo, the NUJ State Secretary in Oyo State, in a statement made available to journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital on Monday, quoted Ademola Babalola, the Oyo State NUJ Chairman to have expressed concern over the suffering of ordinary citizens, who are bearing the brunt of the scarcity.

While calling on the relevant authorities to take urgent action to address the situation, NUJ Chairman also urged the Government to find a lasting solution to the recurring petrol scarcity and price hike, which he described, as a major setback to the economic development of the state and the Country at large.

The NUJ’s condemnation came as many residents of Ibadan and other parts of Oyo State continued to struggle to access petrol, with many filling stations either closed or selling the product at exorbitant prices.
In Kwara State, residents of Ilorin and adjoining cities and towns, on Monday lamented lingering scarcity of fuel, asking the authorities to pity the masses and pleading with the Government for a quick intervention to ease the situation.

Read also: NMDPRA warns against hoarding of fuel

BusinessDay reports that some selected routes in Ilorin where passengers hitherto paid N200 now go between N300, N400 and N500 depending on the length of the routes.

Few vehicles were however seen on the road while students who got stranded at terminus went back home even as some of them were sighted hopping into trucks to convey them to school.

Elizabeth Joseph, an undergraduate student of University of Ilorin said, “transportation from here to the University has changed from N200 to N400, only a few of us can afford it. Government should help us on this because it is affecting our academic programmes.”

Salman Ibrahim, a motorcycle rider said, “We don’t understand what caused the fuel problem. We couldn’t get it easily again despite how expensive it is. The little fuel I bought for N1000 per liter, once it finishes, I will go home.

“We are just doing the business just for us to eat – it is not profitable as before. They are just telling us there is no fuel but they have.”

Also speaking, Aminat Raji, lamented that, ” the situation is terrible. I spent more than double of what the transport fare used to cost me.

“The okada that took me from Omoda to Harmony Estate junction collected N500 but we used to pay N300 before. Everything is just upside down. We pray Allah intervene and touch our leaders’ hearts.”

Read also: Fuel scarcity back again as black market sells at N900/litre

Another responders, Abdullah Mohammed said, “they are just punishing us for no reason. I wonder why the state government is keeping quiet. I have worked in filling station before during last administration.

“The DPR will visit our station every first week of the month, they will check our nozzle, pump price, and ensure everything is in order. No filling station can extort the general public nor tell them no fuel when they have. Our leaders should do the needful, the situation is too tough.”

A school management on Sunday announced that, “we regret to tell our esteemed parents, guardians that the school bus will not be in operation tomorrow for lack of fuel.

“However, the management is doing all possibilities to resolve the situation. Please endeavour to bring your wards to the school on Monday. Thank you for the usual support and understanding.”

Meanwhile, Kofoworola Adekunle, Assistant Manager, Total filling station at post office explained that, “report I have this morning (9:55 am) has it that, they are loading for onward distribution to Abuja and Lagos. So, I don’t know when it will reach our turn.

“We have irregular fuel supply and when supply is low; it will definitely affect the distribution, and that is what we are witnessing now that there is no petrol to sell.

“I want to advise the people not to panic, the situation will improve this week.”