11 April 2012, Sweetcrude, YENAGOA —The Rawls Centre, a Niger Delta-based advocacy group for social justice and development, has decried the high cost of petrol in Bayelsa State.
The product goes for between N120 and N130 per litre in the state with only the NNPC mega station selling at the official N97 per litre in Yenagoa metropolis.
The NNPC mega stations in the hinterland are, however, not functioning, leaving the locals and boat operators at the mercy of black marketers, where a litre is sold for between N350 and N400.
Country Director of the Centre, Mr Ekiyor Welson, Tuesday, blamed the situation on what he described as the docility of residents to resist the high prices and their refusal to join the other parts of the country in the protest against the removal of fuel subsidy.
The centre noted with sadness that even the palliatives introduced by the Federal Government to mitigate the negative effects of the high fuel price were not being felt in the state due to its riverine nature.
He said: “Three months after the new price, petrol sells for between N120 and N130 a litre across the state except at the NNPC mega stations where you have to spend between one to five hours to buy at N97.
“When on January 1, the pump price of petrol was increased from N65 to N147, little did residents of Bayelsa imagine the irony of of the situation. While the product is selling less elsewhere, it is selling for more in Bayelsa. As a predominantly riverine state, it is a nightmare travelling across the state in boats and other motorised river crafts as you have to pay through your nose.”
The group noted with sadness that the labour leaders in the state designed what it described as a softer version of the national strike called by the central labour centres; Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC and Trade Union Congress, TUC with members of the Ijaw Youth Council and the elders turning the entire agitation into a renewed call for resource control and ‘occupy your resources’.
The Centre decried the attitude of Bayelsans to the subsidy protest, adding “the people of the state must realise that issues of justice remain the best guarantee for progress and growth in any society” and pleaded with the state governor to work round the clock to bring down the price of petrol to the approved N97 pump price.