Ogbonnaya Ndukwe, Aba
Scarcity of petrol has hit the commercial city of Aba in Abia State, as queues returned to the few filling stations selling the product at a cost of N200 per litre instead of the officially regulated pump price of N161.
Motor vehicle operators, who had bought the product at the usual price of between N161 and N162, were surprised on Wednesday morning, when many of them, especially commercial bus and tricycle operators, went to fill their tanks for the day’s business and were told of the hike in price.
According to an investigation by our correspondent, many petrol filling stations in Aba have been out of business due to an alleged strike action embarked by the senior staff association of petroleum and gas workers (PENGASSAN), in Aba zone, leading to non-lifting and supply of petroleum products to marketers for downward sale to operators of filling stations.
To this end, only a few filling stations that had the products were open for business and were selling them at very high prices to motorists and other users that need petrol to power their engines for business or home use.
Some motorists who cued in the few filling stations said they began noticing the scarcity on Tuesday evening with some of them buying the product between N170 and N190 per litre and had believed that the problem would have been solved by Wednesday morning only to come out to see a worsening situation.
They appealed to the authorities to urgently reach an agreement with the unions to restart lifting of fuel to enable them to buy at approved prices and in turn charge commensurate fees from commuters using their services.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in the area could not be reached for comments as no one was seen in their office at Osisioma, while calls made to their phones were not responded to.