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Fuel scarcity: Commuters stranded, taskforce warns against hoarding

By Michael Ofulue & Jimoh Ahmed

Fuel scarcity has taken another dimension in Ondo state as commuters including students and other residents resorted to trekking, The Hope investigation has revealed.

The Hope gathered that the persistent hike in transportation fares in different parts of the state in the last few days took a different dimension on Tuesday as residents and commuters were stranded, and were made to trek long distances to their destinations.

The development has also led to reduction in the number of vehicles on the roads. Pump price of petrol is now sold between N750 and N800/litre with long queues.

Transport fares have also gone up astronomically as commercial motorcycle operators now charge between N300 and N500 per drop as against the former price of N200 and N300 per drop.

The current situation has also forced many private vehicle owners to abandon their vehicles to patronize okada, while trekking is now part of the game for many, just to reduce their transportation expenses.

A transporter, Mr Edward Oladeinde, described the high cost of fuel as the cause of foodstuffs hike in the country which is seriously affecting the living standard of average Nigerians.

A commercial driver, Mr Bigi Opalola, decried the rate at which socioeconomic activities have been negatively affected, saying that many could not travel as Lagos to Ikare fare has been temporarily increased to N12,000.00 from the previous N9,000.00.

The respondents, however, called on the government, stakeholders and relevant agencies to find lasting solutions to the ongoing fuel crisis in the country.

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Our correspondent in Osogbo, the Osun state capital, gathered that academic activities in the state have been disrupted by the fuel scarcity, just as the product is now sold at N2,000/litre at black market, living scores of students and both government and private workers stranded.

Meanwhile, Ondo State Petroleum Marketers Taskforce (PMTF), has cautioned petroleum marketers in the state against any action that could give credence to the artificial scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit also known as petrol in the state.

The Chairman of the recently constituted Taskforce in the State, Joseph Ajiroba, who spoke on Tuesday on the ongoing fuel scarcity, particularly urged the leadership and stakeholders in petroleum marketing across the 18 local governments in the state to do everything possible to make PMS available to put an end to any semblance of scarcity in the state.

Ajiroba, who vowed that anyone found culpable of hoarding or increasing the price of the product would be made to face the full wrath of the law, also listed fear of possible increase in the pump price from the depots or unavailability of the product as possible reasons for the artificial scarcity.

Ajiroba urged marketers who are allegedly hoarding, altering the price or selling at high rate to see their actions as economic sabotage and robbery of the masses.

According to him, the relevant authorities had revealed that there could be no reason for scarcity as enough petroleum products to go round the country have been made available.

He warned that a hike in the price of petrol would further increase the cost of foodstuffs and cost of living, saying this can be prevented with a halt in the inconsistent pricing at various fuel stations.

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The chairman assured that members of the Taskforce were putting in place machineries to ensure such perpetrators are made to face the consequences of their action.

Association of Nigeria Refineries Petroleum Marketers (ANRPM), recently appointed Mr Joseph Ajiroba as Chairman, ANRPM Petroleum Marketers Taskforce in the state.

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Fuel scarcity: Commuters stranded, taskforce warns against hoarding

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