BY Austin Ogwuda and Peter Duru
Social and economic activities are gradually grounding to a halt in Makurdi the Benue state capital and its environs as the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, or fuel which surfaced in the state about two weeks ago continues to bite harder with the product presently selling for as high as N250 per litre at the black market.
Saturday Vanguard investigations uncovered that while virtually all the filling stations in town were under lock and key, black marketers were busy making brisk business as desperate motorists continue to patronize them.
As at the time of filing this report, it was only the NNPC Mega station on Old Otukpo road and Silveray Petroleum that had products to dispense to hordes of motorists who had besieged them.
The two stations had to contend with long queues of motorists because they were selling at the government approved pump price of N97 per litre. However, investigations uncovered that the NNPC Station had resorted to rationing its products by dispensing only 30 liters to car owners while motorbike riders were served only ten litres.
When Saturday Vanguard made attempts to find out why the station resorted to rationing, none of the officials was ready to speak on the matter. At the moment, the ever busy Makurdi-Enugu road has been experiencing horrible gridlock as a result of the traffic situation in front of the Mega station. A motorist, Terser Timothy “my car ran out of fuel a week ago and I’ve been making efforts to buy fuel in the last two days but regrettably, that has become an herculean task .
“I joined the queue two days ago but before coming here, I had battled for many days to get fuel but it was not easy. We are forced to patronize black marketers who sell for as high as N250 per litre.
“That is certainly not sustainable by a civil servant like me, which is why I decided to remain here at the mega station hoping that I would be attended to.
”As you know, most of the filing stations in town have all locked up and nobody knows what is actually happening in this country.
”Just when we thought that we had overcome this issue of fuel shortages especially with the increment in the pump price of products, it all seem as if government is not telling Nigerians the truth about this fuel matter and why our refineries are not churning out enough refined products for local consumption.”
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Silveray petroleum, one of the few stations dispensing products in the state, Alhaji Musa Audu, said he had personally taken over the monitoring of his outlets in the state in order to ensure that products were made available to motorists in the state at the approved pump price.
Black market flourishes in Asaba
MOTORISTS and commuters are groaning following the biting effect of fuel scarcity which has hit the capital city and environs.
Investigation showed that most motorists have resorted to patronize the black market operators who are selling petrol as much as N160 per litre. Most filling stations visited along the ever busy Nnebisi Road Asaba and on the Benin-Asaba expressway showed that most of the stations were selling at different pump prices ranging from N120 to N130.
However, the stations owned by the NNPC located in the city were not selling above the official pump price of N97 per litre.
Unfortunately the stations are under lock and key but open intermittently leading to long queues.
Chiedu, a manager in one of the filling stations owned biy independent marketers, said “the hike is not from us. The problem is from depot”, he stated.