By Abang Inyang
The Chairman, Akwa Ibom State chapter of the Independent Petroleum Makerters Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Ubong Nyong has said that members have continuously depended on the fuel depots in Calabar, the Cross River State capital for the supply of petroleum products in the state.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday, Ubong said that this was due to the fact that vessels cannot freight petroleum to depots in Akwa Ibom State due to shallow waterways.
“The problem we have in the state is that we don’t have functional depots. We depend on depots in Calabar for supply of petroleum products,” Ubong said, adding that: “We urge the government to open the waterways so that marketers can bring in products, to avoid scarcity.”
Ubong also said that due to the inability of members to purchase petrol at the approved ex-depot price of NGN133.28 but at NGN139 per litre, marketers have resorted to hiking petrol prices and called on relevant authorities to ensure the state gets its actual quota of petroleum products from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as the patronage of private depots in Calabar has resulted in the increase of prices.
Also, he advocated the dredging of some rivers in the state to enable vessels freight petroleum products directly to that state.
Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade while commissioning the Fynefield Petroleum depot in Calabar in 2015 had said the state is among the top 3 in terms of the number of fuel depots in the country and wondered why there was fuel scarcity also experienced in the state.
Stakeholders at different fora have also pointed to the number of petroleum depots in the state with the number of trucks leaving the city daily as a major factor to the continuous dilapidation of roads in the state.