Why Fuel Scarcity Persists In Niger
By Joyce Simon, Minna
The acute shortage of petroleum products has now forced motorists and other users of the commodity to buy at N200 per litre from the black marketers while most filling stations have stopped selling.
Except for the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) mega station, Total, Bovas and few other dealers which sell at government approved rate, others apparently owned by members of IPMAN only open at nights to sell to black marketers who in turn re-sell between N200 and above to customers.
The activities of black marketers who use fabricated car tanks to siphon fuel and other petroleum products from the NNPC mega station located along the Nnamdi Azikiwe Way, western by-pass have remained unabated as they seem to have defied all security checks to continue in their nefarious business.
As a result many motorists now abandon their vehicles to trek long distances.
Though there is fuel at many filling stations within Minna metropolis, the IPMAN officials fear to sell at government approved rate.
A visit to some filling stations within and around Minna metropolis revealed that, while fuel is available it is sold for between N130 and N150 while black marketers in plastic cans selling for between N190 and above.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Niger State said it would soon commence the clampdown on petrol stations that refuse to dispense petroleum products to the public at federal government’s approved rate.
The sector commander, Mr. Ayuba Philip, who disclosed this in an interview however said that efforts by the command to check the activities of hoarders and black marketers in recent past were yet to yield desired results.
Though acting on the directive from Abuja to lead in enforcing the new fuel regime on petrol stations, Ayuba said that the command was handicapped because the DPR in the state was not forthcoming in giving the command information on dealers who hoard fuel.
Ayuba however disclosed that there was an enlarged meeting of stakeholders; including members of IPMAN and DPR and expressed optimism that the outcome of the meeting would end fuel crisis in the state.
“We are yet to carry-out any raid since after the Christmas and New Year festive season and again in line with our mandate, the DPR is expected to give us information which we act on; clamping down on filling station that has fuel but refusing to sell. Again, I am aware of a meeting by stakeholders but we are yet to get details for us to know the next line of action”.
The commandant also explained efforts being made by the NSCDC to ensure there is no hiding place for black marketers in the state, saying, “We have sent our boys to get us information about any filling station that has fuel but refuses to sell and I can tell you we are not doing badly.”
While expressing hope that the outcome f the meeting will bring an end to the scarcity, the NSCDC state commandant said that he sees no reasons why the new price which is already being implemented at Abuja and Suleja suburb cannot be enjoyed by Nigerlites.
“We cannot seal a filling station without being informed by the DPR. We work hand in hand with them. What we do is more of to give the DPR the security cover to enforce the new petroleum products order including checking pumps that had been adjusted”, adding that the command cannot go after defaulters without the DPR informing them.
Efforts to get the DPR official comment on the artificial fuel scarcity in parts of the state proved abortive and when contacted on phone, the Director DPR in Niger State, Abdullahi Isah Jankara, refused to pick calls.
The fuel situation is yet to abate as at the time of filing this report. Many Nigerlites are still confronted with hardship caused by the artificial scarcity of fuel occasioned by the seeming irreconcilable differences between the DPR and the IPMAN in Niger State.