By Olasunkanmi Akoni
As fuel scarcity bites harder, the quest for petroleum products has taken a chaotic dimension in Lagos as motorists and consumers engage in free for all at some filling stations dispensing the products.
An unidentified motorist, in his 60s, at a filling station around Igando, suddenly slumped on Wednesday, due to exhaustion believed to have been caused by a long wait in queue.
The victim was later revived by sympathisers and people around after applying first aids treatment.
When Vanguard monitored the fuel situations randomly, Wednesday, most filling stations had their gates shut while those dispensing had hordes of consumers including commercial motorcyclists, popularly called, “Okoda,” and long queues of vehicles in a mad rush to get the product.
In Alimosho area, Isolo and Ojo areas, only few filling stations were selling at the official price of N160 per litre, while others were selling from N200 and above per litre.
Touts, miscreants have taken advantage of the situation to buy fuel in kegs and resold at black market level to motorists at higher prices.
One of the filling stations at Ikotun, Alimosho area, witnessed consumers and motorists engaged in a violent clash in an attempt to buy the product. The clash degenerated in the use of dangerous weapons such as cudgels, broken bottles, spanners, and iron rods, among others.
It took the effort of security personnel around and residents to restore normalcy.
However, it was gathered there was no loss of life but several people sustained different degrees of injuries in the process.
Another popular filling station, Bovas, around Idimu in Alimosho area, also recorded violent clash as some miscreants went on rampage, disorganising the order of the queue.
The manager of the station had to quickly terminate further sales of fuel which led consumers and motorists to disperse in different directions.
Meanwhile, the effect has resulted in hike in transport fares to more than 300 per cent for both inter and intra-city transport.
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Commuters have lamented the high cost of fares. A trip that usually cost between N100 and N200 for short-distance has risen to as high as N300 and N400.
From Iktotun to Egbeda that usually cost N200 has risen to N400, as well as other short journeys.
A commuter, Mr. Dayo Akinbayo, narrated that; “I have dropped my car at home because of this scarcity that has dragged for weeks. I don’t have the strength to struggle at the filling stations everyday. We are helpless, government has left us to our fate.
“If the Federal Government wants to increase the pump price, they should do so and save us this hassles and untold hardship that has led into further corruption in the sector.”
Recall that following riotous acts, Lagos State Government had warned motorists queuing up at filling stations to be orderly and not hinder the movement of others across the metropolis.
Commissioner for Transportation, Dr. Frederic Oladeinde, who gave the warning, said, “The government sympathises with motorists who are enduring the pains of the fuel shortage being experienced across the country. This, however, is no excuse to block roads and impede traffic flow.”
Oladeinde frowned at the disorderly behaviour of some drivers, who queue up haphazardly and disrupt traffic flow around petrol stations, urging petrol marketers to ensure that products are sold in an orderly manner that would not infringe on the rights of other road users to free movement.