03 December 2012, Sweetcrude, Owerri – The scarcity of Petroleum products, particularly premium motor spirit, simply called petrol, has become more choatic in Owerri, capital of Imo state.
A situation survey around the metropolis today, by Sweetcrude revealed that many filling stations apparently do not have the product to sell, while those that sold, pushed the pump price per litre from the already exorbitant #120 to #130; some even as high as #150, depending on the particular location.
Investigation indicates that another field day has been opened for the black markerters and some independent marketers, who connive in hoarding, in order to exploit the helpless masses.
As usual, those criminal minded marketers, even with fuel available in their stations, refuse to sell it to members of the public, only to empty their tanks to black marketers at night, for higher profits.
Sweetcrude further gathered that the product is available at the NNPC Mega stations, at the official pump price of #97 per litre, but one has to spend several days on the queue, in order to get it.
Meanwhile, the situation has begun to impact much more negatively on the economic welfare of the residents, with the cost of virtually all goods and services, especially transportation going up.
Two artisans, who identified themselves as Tony Ibe, a commercial car washer and Chinedu, a roadside vulcaniser, who use fuel-powered mini generators for their services, in a brief interview with Sweetcrude, admitted that they had to adjust their charges upwards, in order to remain in business, following the sudden sharp hike in the price of fuel. “I bought this one galon of fuel you are seeing from black market, for almost N600, plus time wasted”, the Vulcanizer said.
Civil servants in the city, who get paid (salary) once in a month, seem to be worst hit and are not finding the situation funny at all. One of them who wore the look of a middle level officer, accosted by Sweetcrude for his views, at a bus stop this morning, volunteered the following comments, on the condition of anonymity “With the way things are going in Nigeria, I dont know how common man can survive. Nigeria is not a poor country. Our problem is poor leadership. This fuel that is our problem, is plenty in our soil, in this state. But few Nigerians are enjoying it. Majority are suffering”.
All efforts made at the Owerri Office of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, for comments by the officials on the issue, especially given recent assurances of availability, proved abortive, as they said they were not permitted to make official comments.