By Ediri Ejoh
Few days to Christmas, Nigerians are still lamenting the persistent fuel scarcity which has taken its toll on business activities as well as food items in the country.
In Lagos, over the last couple of days, it has been difficult for commuters and motorists who have been subjected to hectic traffic jams. Specifically, areas such as Orile, Apapa, Lekki, Oshodi and Ajegunle, Amukoko have had to contend with gridlock due to long queues at petrol stations that sell at N100 per litre.
A motorist, Mr. Samson Okoracha, said, he bought petrol at the rate of N100 per liter at Total stations in Amukoko.
“For some days now, I have been buying petrol at the price of N100 to N120 per liter at various stations in the state. “Normally, I do board commercial buses from Oshodi to mile-2 at the rate of N150, but now I’m expected to pay over N200 and sometimes N300 at night.
On his part, Mr. Festus Okoro, another commercial bus driver, attributes the hike in transportation to unavailability of petrol at the stations.
“We seldom get this product from the petrol stations, we are left at the mercy of hawkers of this product who sell to us at the price of N170 to N200 per liter.
“If you do the maths, you will find out that we practically have no option than to increase the price, because we have families that we must cater for at the end of the day,” he added.
The persistent scarcity has also made the cost of living harder for citizens as the prices of food items have shot up.
“At Alaba market, Mrs. Obi Ifunaya, a trader said, “We have been faced with serious challenge of late, which has led to increase in some of our items sold to customers.
“Before now, some of our vegetables, yams and other items were sold at a fairly moderate price, but for three weeks now, the prices of these items had gone up because of the increase in transporting them from places like the North. Some of the drivers told us that the price of petrol in some states is as high as N300 per liter, and they are difficult to purchase from the filling stations.
In Benin, Edo State, Vanguard gathered that petrol was sold at between N130 and N150 at various stations. For example, at the ring road, airport road, GRA, petrol stations were dispensing petrol at the rate of N130, as against the official price of N87, while hawkers of the product sold at the price of N200 per liter.
A Cab driver, Mr. John Igho, disclosed that independent marketers across the city, Ugbowu and other areas formally adhere to the regulated prize of N87 per liter during the day to avoid sanctions.
His word: “there is deception in the prices of this product across the state.
“During the working hours, independent marketers who tried to avoid been caught , dispensed at the regulated price of N87 while in the evening hours, they sold at between N120 and N125 per litre.”
Some of those who spoke to Vanguard, called on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency come to the aid of the masses so as to bring the situation to normalcy as we approach the yuletide season.