From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Residents of Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Sunday and Monday had grueling experiences over the scarcity of petrol and beef shortages that have hit the city, the latter owing to a sharp drop in the number of cows being slaughtered daily at the Ibadan Central Abattoir from 500 to 150.
Long queues were sighted at some fuel stations in the city, with the gates of many of the filling stations locked. From Akobo to Ojoo and other parts of Ibadan, including Bashorun, Idi-Ape, Iwo Road, Total Garden, Bodija, Mokola, Monatan, Agbowo, Eleyele, Ologuneru, Challenge, Molete, Oke-Ado and Oje, the story was the same.
A visit to the Ibadan Central Abattoir at Amosun Village in Akinyele Local Government Area revealed that cattle are not transported from Northern Nigeria as they were before the current prohibitions on open grazing in some states in the South-West.
Daily Sun learned that before the sharp drop in the number of cows transported to the abattoir, at least 500 cows were being slaughtered on a daily basis. These days, however, only 150 cows are being slaughtered and the number may continue to drop.
Investigation also revealed that the selling price of a cow has increased by a 100 per cent. A cow that was being sold for N150,000 before is now being sold for N300,000, while those once selling for N250,000 now cost between N500,000 and N600,000.
According to some of the market leaders, livestock like goats, rams, and sheep are no longer being transported to Ibadan. They added that all the goats and rams they had in stock had all either been sold or slaughtered and their meat sold off.
Lukman Gindo, a leader of the Hausa-Fulani community in the central abattoir, said the scarcity of cows, rams, goats and sheep in the market was due to the directives of the national body of the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria.
The union has commenced an indefinite strike as a result of the supposed failure of the government to address the killings of its members in some parts of the country. The union has also stopped its members from transporting food items and cattle to Southern Nigeria.
The strike culminated in the prevention of a number of trailers transporting cows, tomatoes, onions, pepper, grains and other commodities from the North to the South. Dozens of such trailers were reportedly sighted at Jebba, a boundary town between Niger and Kwara states, at the weekend after they were prevented from coming to the South.
‘This is what we have been saying. The Yoruba too should begin to invest massively into cattle rearing. We don’t know how long this will take, but there is wisdom in it for the Southerners,’ said a Yoruba butcher who also introduced himself as Sikiru Adeolu.
‘We should go back to farming. Some of our people should have gone back to farming, but for herdsmen that have been destroying our farmland in the South. I believe the South-West will come out of it stronger. Though it is hard for me as a beef seller to bear at the moment, I can still relate with the future and the picture I want to see.’
On the fuel scarcity, many commuters were stranded on Sunday and Monday as they had to trek long distances to their various destinations. There were fewer vehicles on the road and the traffic snarl associated with the General Gas Area of Akobo, Aleshinloye/Railway Junction, Mokola Roundabout, Adamasingba, Dugbe, Sango Poly Junction, Amuoloko, Olorunsogo, Akanran, Orita-Aperin, and Elekuro, disappeared on Monday morning.
A drive around Ibadan revealed that operations of the fuel black market have returned to the city. People selling the commodity in gallons were sighted at Sabo area of Mokola on Monday. Majority of major and independent marketers of petrol had their gates closed to the public.
Some fuel stations dispensed the commodity at N62 per litre, while it went for between N165 and 200 in some other stations. It went for about N250 and N300 in the black market. A five-litre keg of PMS went for about N1,500 around Mokola. Motorists that could not withstand the rigorous queue at a few filling stations, went for the black market.
The Commissioner for Public Work and Transportation in Oyo State, Prof Dawud Sangodoyin, has described the fuel scarcity currently being experienced in Ibadan as an artificial scarcity, alleging that many of the major and independent marketers have the commodity and are hoarding it.
On Saturday, we drove round Ibadan and filling stations were dispensing fuel. But it was surprising that on Sunday they stopped dispensing. And the situation went worse on Monday. I know that Governor Seyi Makinde is not happy about what is happening. This issue concerns everybody. And anything that will bring hardship to the people, the governor will not tolerate it,’ the commissioner said.
‘But if the task force of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) can do their work, things will change. I am sure that Oyo State Government will also take some steps towards ensuring that things return to normal.’