Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Christmas is a season of celebration. Even though it is a Christian festivity, Christmas, however, knows no boundary in terms of religion.
For fuel attendants at filling stations, the story is not different. Like others, they love to celebrate the season with their families and loved ones. Some of the attendants spoke with Daily Sun. Umar Farouk, a fuel attendant works at the Oando Filling Station in Duboyi, Abuja, said: “Forget about making money. It is not by making money that is the matter, but for peace to reign.
“You can’t compare scarcity with this time around. At that time, there is too much stress regarding our health. So, we presently enjoy Christmas more by God’s grace.”
At the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mega Station in Wuse Zone 7, Abuja, the story is not different with Mohammed Hassan:
“I really enjoy now that there is no scarcity because when there is scarcity, there is a lot of stress. But now, the stress is not much. So, we are enjoying the way it is now. We really pray that it will continue to be in this way.”
On the general notion that fuel attendants smile to the banks during Christmas hitherto bedeviled with fuel scarcity:
“Not really. You know here is the mega station. And here is not like a place that you can just do things anyhow. Whether there is scarcity or there is no scarcity, the NNPC is still paying us because we don’t take bribe here.
“All of us are enjoying now that there is no scarcity. It is still the same salary they are paying us. And even people that would like to give you money will still give you. I think I prefer this time.
“Scarcity causes us a lot of headache. Even some customers will be here and before you know what is going on, they will start fighting over who comes first. But at the moment, there is nothing like that. You can come to the filling station, you buy your fuel gently and you go gently. So, we are really enjoying it now.”
At the Forte Oil Filling Station on Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, it was a similar situation. But one of the attendants, Aliyu Yunusa, differed a bit from others. He agreed that it is true that fuel attendants make more money when there is fuel scarcity during Christmas season than the present situation.
He, however, said he was not in any way sad that there is no scarcity, saying that when there is no fuel scarcity, it helps a lot:
“During scarcity, many people are suffering. So, I cannot look as if because I am making money, others should suffer. In fact, 98 percent of people suffer during fuel scarcity. So, I cannot say I am happy making money when others are suffering.”
He said in moments of fuel scarcity during Christmas, there would be hike in transport fare and prices of goods would also increase.
Yunusa said even though he is not financially satisfied at the moment, he is, however, happy because of others who are enjoying the absence of fuel scarcity and the stress it saves fuel attendants:
“Seriously, I prefer to have rest than when I am suffering and making money.”