By Olasunkanmi Akoni
A group, Hengo Badagry Youth Association has appealed to the Federal Government to increase supply of petroleum products to nine approved fuel stations in Badagry border communities of Lagos State.
Recall that the Federal Government, on March 23 lifted the suspension placed on 66 fuel stations across the border communities to ease fuel scarcity in the areas.
However, nine out of the 66 fuel stations belonged to Badagry border communities in Lagos State.
President of the association, Mr Felix Godonu, who made the plea at a news briefing in Badagry added that the measure would curb community transmission of COVID-19 pandemic on the area.
According to Godonu, the supply would make residents living in the areas to be comfortable and assist the state government to contain the community transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Federal Government should please support the efforts of the state government in curbing community transmission of COVID-19 by supplying more fuel stations to dispense the products.
“This because the large crowd at the petrol station whenever there is fuel, calls for worry and concern, as most people unintentionally disregarded the social distancing and use of mask guidelines.
“Government should allow fuel stations with proper documentation and credibility to start lifting fuel for distribution so that normalcy can return to our communities,” he pleaded.
Godonu said that the quantity of petroleum supply to the nine approved stations were not enough for over 120 communities in the border areas.
According to Godonu, the communities needed sufficient petrol to keep them at home during the lockdown as directed by the state government to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic due to irregular power supply.
“The hardship being encountered by residents in the last two months since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic is unquantifiable with adverse effects on our economic and social life.
“We have to trek long distances to buy petrol since the 20 kilometres restriction of supply of petroleum products to our area,” he said.
Godonu said the few fuel stations that were allowed to dispense the product in Badagry were usually empty after selling fuel for two days.
“It is no longer news that out of about 100 towns and villages that makes up Badagry West Local Council Development Area, only 30 per cent is connected to the national grid leaving the rest of us in darkness.
“The use of our generator is the only option that we are left with for power supply.
“We all depend on petrol for our homes, cars, motor bikes, boat engines and other domestic machines,” he said.
The association president said due to insufficient petrol in the areas, most of their children that were out of schools due to the pandemic were not benefiting from the ongoing online teachings.
He said: “Now, our children have been instructed to study online; how will they cope when we don’t have electricity supply or petrol to power our generators.
“We can’t do without fueling our generators here to enable them to study.
“To get fuel now is like travelling with over 20 police checkpoints harassing our women, and causing heavy traffic, even with the lockdown guidelines by the government
Godonu said that the association had met with the management of the nine approved stations in the areas to find out why their stations were selling fuel to the public.
“They told us that they only receive one truck of petrol, kerosene and diesel weekly, which means they have to wait till another week before they could get another supply.
“Now, we are appealing to the Federal Government to consider the population of the people living in the areas which are mostly artisans and petty traders that depend on petrol for their daily needs,” he said.
“Nine filling stations for over 120 communities in border areas of Badagry is not enough.
“Before the suspension, we were having close to 120 filling stations, though some were doing illegal businesses,” Godonu stated.