By Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoa—ECONOMIC and other activities in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital and its environs were, yesterday, paralysed as residents spent most of their productive hours queuing for fuel as acute scarcity of the product hit the state.
Investigation by Vanguard revealed that virtually all the filling stations that were selling the product between last week and Monday, had closed shop leaving black market operators as the major source of petroleum products in the state capital.
A trip round the city yesterday revealed that on the stretch of Isaac Boro expressway and Sani Abacha expressway only Jovero and NNPC mega stations were selling products to motorists at the official pump price.
Investigations further revealed that most filling stations were shut, not because they did not have fuel but because they were deliberately diverting the product to the black market with a view to making huge profit.
The black market operators were seen concentrated in front of the shut filling stations.
A litre of the product which was sold at N150 in the early hours of the day at the black market had jumped to between N200 and N220 by noon.
Desperate motorists were seen haggling with the fuel hawkers by the road side for the product.
“It is not as if the filling stations have run out of supply, they have enough fuel in their storage tanks but they are selling to black market operators in jerry cans and drums,” said Jones who bought 20 litres for N4000 from a black marketer.
Attempts to get speak with the Department of Petroleum Resource, DPR, officials in the state, proved abortive.
But a source from the department described the scarcity as artificial, assuring that the NNPC mega station would continue to dispense the product to motorists at the official price.