By Sade Adewale,
Long queues have resurfaced in almost all the petrol stations that dispensed Premium Motor Spirit (PM’S), popularly called petrol, in Akure and other major towns across Ondo State.
The development followed an unannounced gradual increase in the price of the product, which has caused anxiety over another scarcity as people suspect the marketers of possibly hoarding the product as December knocks.
In Akure, some of the stations were under lock while those having the product were selling at exorbitant price of between N650 and N680.
Motorists and other petrol users in the state lamented the development and its attendant hardship on the masses, saying that marketers are deliberately exploiting Nigerians with the unofficial price increment.
Commercial drivers, motorcyclists as well as other consumers of the product who vented their grievances over the unpleasant development, appealed to the Federal Government to come to their rescue to alleviate their suffering as we entered the yuletide season.
A commercial driver, Sunday Alaba, who said he had been on the queue at a filling station along Agbogbo in Akure for about an hour before they were shut out said the situation was getting tougher as petroleum largely determines the market reality and livelihood of people in the country.
He berated the sudden closure of filling stations, stressing that the situation will lead to a more painful experience for the people.
An Okada rider, Michael Elusakin, disclosed that the gradual price increase is seriously affecting their daily income as fuel is taking 90 per cent of it.
He explained that he bought a litre of fuel at N650 against N625 earlier sold at a filling station along Oke-Ijebu, Akure.
Another motorcyclist simply identified as Emmanuel, said he had driven across several filling stations in Akure in search of fuel but most of the stations were under lock and key.
Report from Ondo said most filling stations that dispensed petroleum experienced long queues.
The queues for petrol grew worse in some parts of the city following speculations that there will be an increase in the pump price of the product.
Motorists besieged the few outlets that opened for business in the area while some others that had dispensed petrol the previous day were locked.
When The Hope moved around the city, queues of motorists were seen in many locations. It was observed that many other filling stations were shut as they claimed not to have the product.
Long queues were seen at the Olipe filling station along Oka, Total filling station along Odojomu, and Nipco along Ademulegun road selling N650 per litre.
Speaking with The Hope, Mr. Felix Adeotun said that he spent between one or two hours at filling stations before buying PMS and urged the government to put an end to the scarcity to reduce the plight of the common man.
A commercial driver, Benard Akinsanya, said he spent three hours at Olipe Filling Station opposite Oka Sawmill in Ondo before getting the product.
Akinsanya said, “we need to find a solution to this perennial problem of fuel scarcity. It looks like filling stations are looking for this type of opportunity to make money. Last time there was fuel scarcity, they sold at higher prices at night and limited sales to one or two pumps in the day, he added.
Residents of Ore, the headquarters of Odigbo Local Government area also lamented over persistence hike in fuel price.
Our correspondent who visited some filling stations within Ore metropolis gathered that the price of fuel ranges between N580 to N650 per litre.
Some residents who spoke with our correspondent expressed displeasure over the persistent hike in fuel price.
“We are tired of this whole scenario about fuel issue, at this time, but we are optimistic that things will turn around for good soon.
The Hope, however, learnt there are no queues at some filling stations when filling this report
Most filling stations in Owo and other major parts of the Ondo North District seemed to have jerked up the price of a litre of PMS to N650.
According to The Hope findings, the product was sold N630 before the new rate.
Worried by the scarcity, residents have called on the state government to revive the Petroleum Products Regulations Consumer Protection Agency in the state to check the excesses of shylock fuel merchants.
According to them, the marketers need to be checked against any unwholesome practice which might result in the product being hoarded.