By Taye Obateru, Wole Mosadomi
The fuel scarcity being experienced all over the country is biting harder in Plateau State as fewer filling stations have fuel to sell to the public.
Although most residents have had to rely on private stations who sell at between N120 and N125 per liter, some of the stations for about two weeks now have also been closed for lack of supply.
As at Wednesday, only NNPC mega station along Yakubu Gowon Way in the state capital was selling while virtually all stations belonging to major marketers were without fuel.
A dealer for one of the major marketers said the little fuel that comes is being rationed on rotational basis to keep the stations going.
“We had one truck yesterday and it was shared to three stations. When another truck comes, it will be shared and we go round like that”, he said.
He dismissed allegations of hoarding leveled against marketers saying if supply was sufficient there would be no reason for anyone to do so.
Motorists and others who use petrol for their business lamented that the scarcity had imposed additional financial burden on them as they buy fuel from the ‘black market’.
A resident, Joseph Elijah alleged that major marketers were diverting supplies to the black marketers saying they discharge a small quantity in their stations and take the bulk to the black marketers at night.
The people called on government to take steps to end the scarcity as it is worsening their economic condition, having to pay extra for transportation and other things.
Black marketers hoard fuel
Minna the Niger state capital has been noted and labeled as the home of black marketers dealing in the hoarding of petroleum products for years.
Even when there were regular supply of fuel across the country including Niger state, the black marketers still remain in business selling in all nooks and crannies in various parts of major towns in
the state most especially in front of designated filling stations in the state.
They are mostly patronized by okada riders before their total ban in Minna the state capital.
In the fast few weeks during which fuel scarcity was noticed across the country, the black marketers have totally taken over the sale of petrol in the state especially in Minna the state capital at the
detriment of regular filling stations whose pumps have gone dry occasioned by the scarcity of the commodity in the state.
Due to the scarcity, petrol (PMS) now sell at different filling stations at an inflated rate of between N125 to N130 per litre depending on the area and station of purchase. Only few filling stations including the NNPC mega stations in different parts of the state sell at the official rate of N97 per litre and where available, long queues are noticed where purchasers spend hours waiting endlessly in the queue.
The lucky ones buy the product while others end up without buying the product. Saturday Vanguard reliably gathered that most of the filling stations who are supposed to sell at the official rate end up selling few litres and later discharging to the black marketers at odd hours of the day, thereby empowering the black marketers to flourish in their illegal deal.
With this development, a litre of petrol is sold by the black marketers to the public at the rate of N180 to N200 depending on the location.
The fear by motorists for now is the likelihood of purchasing adulterated product from the black marketers which they said may likely affect their engines. As at the time of going to press, most filling stations are seen without fuel while the black marketers are enjoying and celebrating the scarcity. The fuel scarcity have subsequently affected transport fares in the state slightly.