February 1, 2023

Protest rocks Enugu over fuel scarcity, price hike


By Chinedu Adonu

Motorists and Keke operators, in Enugu State, Wednesday embarked on a protest over a hike in the price of petroleum products, especially the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS.

The angry protesters manhandled workers of most filling stations in the State capital and ordered them to sell the products at government-approved prices.

The protesters demonstrated along some major roads,  blocked some roads, forced both commercial and private motorists to join the protest in solidarity, a development that grounded vehicular and commercial activities for several hours in the metropolis.

The development forced owners of filling stations to close their facilities as the protesters threatened to burn down any station that refused to readjust their meters to the government-approved prices.

The angry protesters forced commercial drivers to discharge their passengers, park their vehicles and join them to trek to different filling stations to warn petroleum sellers of the consequences of selling above the stipulated pump prices.

Before the protest, some filling stations were selling fuel between 400 and 450 nairas per litre, a development that occasioned the protest.

A minibus driver, Ikenna Okonkwo, who spoke to journalists, said that the protest was justifiable as they could no longer afford to fold their arms and watch people inflict untold hardship on them.

“Can you imagine that yesterday I bought fuel at 400 nairas and today it has risen to 450 and who knows if it will not rise to 500 or 600 naira by tomorrow? The protest is in order so that they will know that we are no longer happy, government should do something about it,” he stated.

A car owner who spoke to journalists, Mr Nwaigbo Okeke,  called on government to regulate the activities of petroleum dealers, saying that it was unfortunate that they have continued to carry out outrageous increase of fuel pump price to the detriment of the masses.

However, the chairman of IPMAN, Enugu State, Chief Chinedu Anyaso had said that the scarcity and the hike in price was not their making but the hardship they undergo in procuring the products.

According to him, “people don’t know what we are going through to procure the products.  Some of us go to Lagos, Warriors and Port Harcourt to look for fuel and it has not been easy.  So, when we manage to get the supply, what do you expect us to do,” he asked.

When contacted the spokesman of Enugu State Police Command, Daniel Ndukwe said he was not disposed but at workshop.

Investigation shows that some major Marketers that have the products sell at the regulated price but the queues are too long for motorists to endure, hence the patronising of the IPMAN filling stations.