Stand Point

Fuel Scarcity: The nightmare is here again


With Joke Adeniyi-Jackson

One thing that motorists dread aside pothole ridden road in Nigeria, is fuel scarcity. The Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) shortage, is fast becoming a common decimal in this country. Appalling is the fact that the incessant scarcity situation is mostly artificial as marketers hoard the product at will. It is only in Nigeria that you just wake up to unpalatable situations that adversely affects your standard of living and most times, government is helpless too. Ours is a country where you are caught unaware by unsavoury development; one minute you drive into a filling station and get fuel with ease, the next minute there’s an incomprehensible and inexplicable situation; long queues. Shortage of the PMS has been our lot for a long time now. Fuel scarcity has become a ghost stalking Nigerians and there seems to be no end in sight. Fuel scarcity is not a new development in this country, in fact, it has become a recurring decimal in the largest crude oil producing country in Africa. What a shame! The attendant problems of fuel scarcity affects the socio-economic lives of Nigerians. It has caused ordinary people untold hardship in recent time.   The recent fuel scarcity has no doubt, reduced the quality of life of Nigerians who are confronted with various other challenges. It is like putting salt on a fettering injury.
So, one could understand the pains and frustration of Kwarans when the dreaded situation crept up on them. Early last week, there was panic buying by motorists  in Ilorin, the state capital when they got wind of the scarcity of the petroleum product in Lagos and some other parts, and by weekend there was fuel scarcity, which has continued unabated, while the queues are disappearing in the commercial capital and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Yesterday, the sun was high up, un-sparing as it unleashed full intensity of its rays. All around were sweaty unsmiling faces that tell tale of frustration. Both young and old tested their agility as they struggled to board the few available commercial vehicles that plied the road at the Post Office area of Ilorin, Kwara State capital. Many commuters were left stranded and the situation was worse at night time.
Also, at the NNPC Mega Station along Asa Dam road was another group-motorists who endured the scorching sun as they queued for fuel.
Some motorists, who could not stand the rigours resorted to black market dealers, who sell them at cut-throat prices. The situation has affected students and civil servants alike who find it difficult getting to their various destinations in good time. The development has made people to be less mobile as cost of transportation has gone up. With the epileptic power supply, the problems of an average Kwaran is compounded as it is difficult getting petrol to fuel power generating set. The situation is no doubt depressing.
The fuel scarcity is affecting every facet of the people’s economic life, which depends on fuel. Everyone is affected one way or the other as individuals carry on with their daily activities. It is fast paralysing economic and sundry activities.
Many filling stations within  Ilorin metropolis have remained shut as independent marketers hoard the product. The Kwara marketers under the aegis of Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria (IPMAN) are demanding increase in loading volume of PMS from Mosimi depot, special loading arms and immediate pumping of the product to Ilorin depot. Instructively, if their needs are not met, there is the likelihood of protracted fuel scarcity in the state.
However, to alleviate the current situation, the Mr. Phillip Salvation led Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), should live up to expectation by assuring that filling stations  hoarding the product are sanctioned.
In addition, it is high time the Federal Government find lasting solution to the problem of incessant fuel scarcity in the country.   It must ensure that our refineries are back in shape for us to cut back on our reliance on fuel importation, which does not augur well for our economy.

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