05 January 2015, Lagos – Black market operators have hijacked President Goodluck Jonathan’s ‘political kerosene’ in his home state, Bayelsa.
The kerosene, expected to be sold for N50 per litre, has skyrocketed to N100 per litre due to the activities of black marketers that abound at most designated mega filling stations in Yenagoa metropolis.
For many consumers, the kerosene has become a source of agony, despair and nightmare as they could not get the commodity because they refused to go through the black marketers.
Apart from the activities of the black marketers, who they accused of conniving with some attendants, they also flayed the lawlessness of some security operatives.
They alleged that the security officials usually came with more than the required 25-litre jerrycan and would head straight for the pump and forced attendants to sell to them.
It was learnt that some consumers got to the station as early as 5am, yet they could not buy the product after queuing for long hours.
A consumer, who gave her name only as Veronica, lamented the agony she was exposed to in an attempt to buy the product.
She said, “Imagine, I have been here for close to eight hours, yet it has not reached my turn. But in my presence, some people came and they sold to them.
“This is unfair. I had thought that coming to buy the kerosene at N50 per litre would ease my problem, but I can tell you, I am in a deeper problem. I have been here since and all the things I am supposed to do are lying at home. As it is, I cannot even say when I will leave this station.”
Another consumer, Benedicta John, said he could only buy the product after coughing up N1,500 bribe to a black marketer.
“They (black marketers) are all over the place here. If you must leave here on time, you must go through them. When I purchased my 25-litre kerosene, I paid N1,500 to the attendants and was asked to give another N1,500 to the man who facilitated my transaction.
“I wonder when this country will be corruption free. Some people capitalise on every situation to rip others off. I came here with happiness that I was coming to buy kerosene for N50 per litre, but now my joy has been killed.”
A tout, who gave his name as Preye, said he saw the situation as an opportunity to make money.
“Nothing goes for nothing. I charge people before I go to the attendants. Whatever comes out of it, I take my share and give those who also facilitate the business.
“That is the way it works. You know this is Nigeria. Those who refuse to go through us have to wait for a very long time before they can buy. It is left to them to choose between greasing our palms or waiting there for long. “
When contacted, Bayelsa State Coordinator, Kerosene Correct, Anderson Obere, said he and his team were there to ensure that the price was not more than the agreed N50 per litre.
He said so far, attendants dispensed kerosene at the agreed price.
Our correspondent’s visit to some mega filling stations, including the one at the Sani Abacha Expressway, revealed that the price on the dispenser was N50 per litre of kerosene.
It was also noticed that long queues of consumers were present at the stations with consumers complaining bitterly about the ill treatment meted out to them by attendants and security personnel controlling crowds.
– The Punch