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Friday, September 22, 2023

Fuel Scarcity Hits Gombe, Kano Metropolises

Not more than three fuel stations were open for business in Gombe metropolis yesterday following President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s announcement of subsidy removal on Monday.

The stations — Mega filling station, BCJ road, Softcrest Bypass and NNPC along Bank Road — were yesterday, congested with customers.

According to the president, the federal government is set to withdraw the subsidy imposed on fuel.

Hitherto, the previous administration had on several occasions announced plans to remove the subsidy, but kept postponing it.

But a few hours after Tinubu’s announcement, Nigerians thronged to fuel stations and endulged in panic buying, a situation which culminated into abrupt scarcity.

Audu Bala, a tricyclist, is already blaming the present government for such a move.

He bemoaned about the sudden price hike, saying it rose from N197 per liter to N350.

“If you go to the NNPC station around Bank Road, they still sell it at the official price. But there is the longest queue you can ever imagine. Am I supposed to suspend a day’s job only to buy fuel?” he asked.

The commercial tricyclist said he resorted to buying from black market sellers at N400 per liter.

Speaking on how this is already taking a toll on his welfare, Audu said: “I earn a daily income of at least N7,000. But with this present situation, I doubt if I can even make N5,000.”

Another tricyclist who simply identified himself as Sani said many of his colleagues have given up for the day’s job.

“I have little fuel running my Keke right now. But the moment it’s finished, I will just go back home until this situation gets better, ” he said.

Aside from commercial drivers, residents that patronize them are also facing challenges. A hospital worker who simply identified as Hajiya, told WikkiTimes that she may have to start trekking to work henceforth.

The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) in a statement on Tuesday said it is working with NNPC Ltd. and other stakeholders to guarantee a smooth transition following the removal of fuel subsidy.

“Contrary to speculations and concerns, the announcement is in line with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA 2021), which provides for total deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector to drive investment and growth.

“We, therefore, call on Nigerians to remain calm and resist the urge to stockpile as it poses a significant safety hazard.

“The NMDPRA reassures all Nigerians that the removal of subsidy on PMS is a step towards building a more sustainable and prosperous future for our nation.

“We will continue to monitor activities and implement necessary measures to enhance transparency and accountability in the petroleum downstream sector,” Kimchi Apollo, NMDPRA stated.

MEANWHILE, motorists and residents in Kano State are also experiencing the scarcity.

Our correspondent observed long fuel queues have appeared at fuel stations in various parts of Kano metropolis.

The situation started on Monday as motorists engaged in panic buying while petroleum marketers are accused of hoarding the product.

When WikkiTimes visited some fuel stations across the city, fuel was being dispensed at different prices ranging from N400–600 per litre while others shut their gates.

A driver, Musa Ibrahim said he bought a liter at N400 on Wednesday.

“I had to buy fuel this morning at N400 but one of my friends told me he bought it for N540,” he said.

Another motorist, Mukhtar Adam narrated his ordeal saying: “I moved around all places in Kano to get where I can have fuel at cheap price but I couldn’t. I have to buy it at N520.”

At AA Rano in Dorayi, AYM and Aliko Oil in BUK Road, Salbas and NNPC in Horoto as well as Keddi Semi Oil in Rijiyar Zaki, liter of fuel was sold between N400–600 on Wednesday.

A resident who simply identified himself as Malam Sule appealed to the president to urgently address the problem.

Another resident, Bello Musa, also called on government to address the problem and punish fuel stations found to be hoarding the product deliberately.

“I think it is high time the president and the federal government addressed this fuel scarcity. We are calling on them to do it. And anyone found hoarding the product to create artificial scarcity should be punished accordingly,” he said.


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