By Demola Akinyemi
ILORIN-There seems to be no end in sight to the severe scarcity of petroleum in Kwara state as the state government has said that it would not compromise on the sale of the products beyond official prices in any parts of the state. Vanguard checks revealed that virtually all the fuel stations of the independent marketers in the state have been under permanent lock for a long time now, a development that prompted residents to be travelling to the neighbouring Osun, Oyo and Ekiti states to buy the products at 120 or 130 per litre.
Recall that Departments of Petroleum Resources in Ilorin sealed up two petrol stations and gave out, free of charge, their products to customers for selling beyond official price and tampering with their metre. Vanguard investigation however revealed that the residents in Kwara are the worst for it as the independent marketers in the state allegedly divert their products to the neighbouring states to be sold beyond official prices.
This development however made the products to be severely scarce as only the two NNPC stations in the state dispense the products which usually attract large customers whenever they do. Speaking with journalists on the outcome of the state executive council meeting on Monday, the commissioner for Information, Mallam Tunde Ajeigbe, said the government could not be seen encouraging regulatory agencies to sell above pump price.
He noted that those states where the petrol is being dispensed above the approved pump price are simply encouraging illegality, a development Kwara state would not be part of. The commissioner who said that the state had little or no influence over activities of NNPC or its agencies, however, expressed hope that measures taken by the federal government to repair refineries, import fuel and pay money owed oil marketers would ensure availability of the product.
He said the state government was concerned with the development, particularly the hardship people had to undergo to get fuel, adding that the state government would not allow illegality like in such areas where governments look the other way when fuel was sold above official pump price.
Mallam Ajeigbe also hinted that the state government has approved the establishment of Directorate of Re-orientation to promote synergy between the existing religions in the state and ensure harmonious relationship among the people.
He added that a panel headed by the Deputy Governor, Elder Peter Kisira and selected members of the state executive councils had been set up to visit the warring towns of Share and Tsaragi with a view to access the extent of damages and find out the immediate and remote cause of the current communal clash with a view to finding lasting solution to it.
Ajeigbe added that the present administration would not tolerate any act of violence from any quarters stressing that the clash was unnecessary and blamed it on certain elements in the communities trying to cause disharmony between people who had lived peacefully for ages.