By Ozioruva Aliu
BENIN CITY – AS a response to the protests that rocked Benin City on Monday owing to scarcity of petrol and uncontrolled increase of pump price, Edo state government has set up a monitoring committee made up of actors in the petroleum distribution chain, civil society organisations and government.
Briefing journalists after a meeting with the stakeholders, the Commissioner for Mining and Energy, Ethan Uzamere said the committee which would immediately commence operation would monitor petroleum marketers to know how much products they have been getting and how they were dispensing.
He said the challenge has been irregular supply of products to the station owners, a situation he said is within the purview of the federal government but pledged the state government’s readiness to partner the federal government to reduce the burden on the people.
Also, a statement by Governor Godwin Obaseki’s Special Adviser on Media Projects, Crusoe Osagie said “The government thanks all Edo people for being law-abiding and also appreciates the protesters for being peaceful even as we work with all concerned to ease the situation and build a progressive State together.”
On his part, the Chairman, Major Marketers Dealers Association (MMDA), Tony Aghedo said shortage of supply has been responsible for the scarcity.
He said “In my over 35 years as a dealer, we have never had it so bad in Edo state that a litre of petrol will go for N500 to N600. The major reason for this is shortage in supply of products to major marketers. We get our products from Lagos and for three weeks nothing has come it was only last week that some trucks came and we have to share it to make sure it goes round so when you see a truck enters a major marketer’s station and then after two to three hours, the station stops selling, it is because only a compartment of the truck was given to them because we want the product to go round. We sell at the government approved price except for those independent marketers who have our franchise, they build the station with their money so when they don’t get supply from use, they go to source themselves. But we are going to work with the government on the monitoring arrangement to ensure we monitor what is happening ”
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