by crossriverwatch admin
The fuel scarcity which started in Cross River State in the last week of February is persisting and is biting even harder as very few filling stations are dispensing the product to motorists.
Calabar, the state capital is the most hit as the product is only available in the black market where young men shunt around selling the product at very exorbitant rates. A liter sells for between N250 and N300 naira and much of it is adulterated with kerosene which is available and still sells for N120 a liter.
Some motorists do take trips outside Calabar to buy fuel for their cars in places like Odukpani, Akamkpa and Ugep some fifty kilometers away. A trip outside Calabar shows that beginning from Odukpani local government area which adjoins to Ogoja which is some 400 kilometres away, some filling stations still dispense fuel to motorists but at prices ranging from N130 to N200 per liter.
The scarcity has led to long queues at bus stops while the cost of transportation fares and other services have shot up. For instance, taxi fares that used to be N50 and N100 for short distances within the city have increased to N100 and N200 respectively for the same distances.
Also services like internet, barbing, hairdressing, laundry and computer services have tripled. Internet services that used to be N200 per hour is now N400 while barbing of hair that used to cost N300 in a standard barber’s salon now cost N500.
On why the scarcity persists, a source at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, attributes the scarcity to the lack of delivery of the product to its depot in Calabar occasioned by delays in the signing of documents for the importation of the product into the country. “Our refineries are not functioning so the petroleum products we use in this country are imported and this quarter, the authorities are yet to sign documents for importation of products”.
The sources who prefers anonymity because he has no authority to speak to the press stated that though remedial measures are being taken to bring in supply to alleviate the situation, “it will take about a month before the situation stabilizes because the documentation and importation has to go through some processes before bringing in the product”.
Mr Michael Udo, the Chairman of Independent Petroleum Marketers, IPMAN said the filling stations are shut because there are no products in the stations; it is only when we have products that we can sell”.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Victory in Calabar which impounded a giant sea vessel, M.T. Diddi suspected to be involved with irregularities in its process of moving 15,000 tons of Premium Motor Spirit , PMS, has ordered the product to be discharged into the jetty for onward sale to marketers to reduce the scarcity.
Owners of M.T. Diddi vessel, Sea Transport Services Nigeria limited, however, insist the vessel was on a normal transportation of petroleum product to Dozzy oil and Gas in Calabar and it has nothing to do with bunkering or illegal transaction.
They argued that the vessel which had carried legal activities within Lome, Lagos and the West African coast had received a discharge order from Dozie oil and Gas to discharge PMS to Dozzy from offshore Lome in Togo.
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