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It’s been over three weeks of stressful, long and windy queues in petrol retail outlets as a result of the lingering fuel crisis at Agbor, environs and the nation at large over the purchase of petrol. What began like a child’s play with a litre of the commodity selling for N160 has now gone beyond the reach of most Nigerians particularly at this time of the year when the eagerness to travel and spend the yuletide with loved ones has become a tradition.
It is no more news that the commodity now sells for between N 240 and N 300 at the fuel retail outlets, and N 400, from black markets dealers who now operate illegal petrol reservoirs while doing so with impunity.
Spending fruitless hours on fuel queues to purchase a commodity that should be available in split seconds to Nigerians can best be described as a slap on our common interest and a case of man’s inhumanity to man considering the fact that the availability of the premium motor spirit, popularly called petrol lubricates all commercial activities.
It is however sad that up till this moment, no individual or organization has been held responsible for putting Nigerians through this unnecessary hardship, rather, all we see, hear and read in the news is blame and counter blame by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its downstream subsidiary; the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA). While the (NNPC) claims to be discharging the commodity in ports across the country on a daily basis, the DAPPMA says the current fuel scarcity is due to no fault of theirs. Who then should be blamed? Is it the common man on the street that has to bear the rise in pump price from N 97 to N 145 in the last two years?
Speculations among Nigerians on the likelihood of the pump price of the commodity being increased was debunked by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, but that has not changed the scenario at the retail outlets including the ones owned by the NNPC.
Worthy of note is also the apology tendered by President Mohammadu Buhari to Nigerians over the persisting fuel crisis. The apology though well thought out, has not solved any problem as the fuel palaver continues to linger with commuters; motorists and motorcyclist go through “hell” wasting precious time to purchase the scarce commodity. Prices of food stuff are not left out as they are all affected by the astronomic and unofficial rise in the price of fuel.
The federal government should through its institutions in the petroleum industry not stand aloof because as it stands now, all the petrol dispensing outlets in Agbor axis now sell at N 250 per litre. Where then are the taskforce set up by the regulatory authorities to punish defaulters who sell above the official price of N 145? Are they still in force? If they are, why are there no checks on marketers that sell above N 145 per liter? So far, it’s been so bad on Nigerians and the effects on all goods and services are harmful. In a situation where these high prices are allowed to remain unchecked, the negative economic consequences are better imagined than experienced.
That Nigerians are already going through very hard times has been acknowledged by President Mohammadu Buhari himself. What this means is that the nation as a matter of urgency must tackle the issue of refining her domestic fuel consumption to stem a re-occurrence of frustrating queues which does not make sense to anyone. Government institutions active in the petroleum industry should do the needful by stopping all acts of economics sabotage and hoarding of the commodity which is now on the ascendancy.
Security agencies on their part should strive to clear the landscape of Ika land of illegal fuel marketers that are now springing up daily.
After 57 years of nationhood, our development should have taken us beyond this primary level of growth.
We are hopeful that in the coming days, sanity would have been brought to play in the distribution and marketing of the commodity to the benefit of all Nigerians.

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