By Ike Uchechukwu, CALABAR
Motorists and commuters in Calabar, are feeling the biting effect of scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) that suffaced in the capital city of Cross River about two weeks ago.
The development has caused untold hardship to residents of the city as transport fare as well as prices of goods and services have been hiked.
However, the situation worsened in the last two days as commuters have resulted to trekking the distance to their destinations since motorists have pulled their vehicles off the road.
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Motorists now charge between N150 to N250 on routes that used to cost between N50 and N100.
The worsened situation, however, has increased the activities of blackmarket dealers, who have seized the opportunity to make bricks business.
While the few filling stations that have stock of the product dispense at between N450 to N500 per litre, in blackmarket costs between N650 to N700.
Checks by Vanguard revealed that some filling stations with stock dispense the product to the black marketers at midnight or in the early hours of the day.
Vanguard also gathered that the scarcity of PMS in Calabar was as a result of unresolved issue between the host community and NUPENG.
The issue have resulted in the inability of tankers to lift products from depots at Esuk Utan, Calabar Municipality LGA.
A source, who pleaded anonymity, told Vanguard that the host communities are at loggerhead over issues of royalties
“We hope the matter will be resolved soon and tankers start lifting products.
“I don’t want to go into details as the matter is being discussed to find a solution to the imbroglio,” the source said.
A commuters, Mr Daniel Asuquo, who bemoaned the situation called on the Cross River state Government as well as NUPENG, IPMAN to see to the peaceful resolution of the matter.
“We know there is a nationwide fuel crisis, but our case in Calabar is a bit peculiar.
“We learnt that there is issue between host community and the Union.
“There should be understanding between all parties so that this untold hardship can be resolved,” Asuquo said.
Meanwhile, Bolt drivers have raised the alarm that the scarcity was negatively impacting on their business as many of them had resorted to buying PMS from the blackmarket.
One of the affected driver, Mr Pascal Bajie regretted the fuel situation in the capital city and stressed that apart from the hike in pump price of the product, the challenge is the unavailability.
“You can’t even get a filling station to buy from.
“The few that are open for business sell a litre for between N400 to N500 with long queues that have forced many of us to patronize black market dealers.
“How can you buy fuel at N700 per litre? How much will you make from a ride?
“Many of our customers are frequently cancelling rides, the fuel crisis is really affecting bolters adversely,” he said.
Efforts to speak with the leadership of NUPENG and IPMAN in Cross River proved abortive as non of their chairmen answered their phones.