Tolerance drops as fuel scarcity, blackout irk Nigerians
Petrol stations now boxing bout scenes
For a country to be without adequate fuel supply is a terrible situation to be in. For citizens of the same country to also suffer electricity blackout at the same time due to a strike action by electricity workers is double jeopardy.
This is the situation Nigerians have endured in the last 72 hours, as labour unions ground the fuel depot and power installations across the country. At the filling stations, the queues are a long stretch and chaos is the order of the day as Nigerians vent their frustration and let off steam.
The unavailability of fuel has resulted in tension and flaring temper as it gets tougher to keep impatient customers calm, especially when not dispensing fuel at the official rate of N86.50. Although the strike has ended, motorists still have to endure queues in filling stations.
A man yesterday almost went berserk at an Egbeda petrol station in Lagos when after waiting hours on the queue to get petrol, it got to his turn and instructed the petrol attendant to fill up his 25-litre jerry can at N130 per litre.
Alas, it took 42 litres for the 25-litre gallon to fill up. It took the intervention of security operatives to restrain the man who had already created a scene and threatened to destroy the fuel station for allegedly cheating Nigerians.
A motorist and fuel attendant took the annoyance a step further in Abuja, as they could not keep their fist in their pockets. Ferocious blows were freely exchanged.
The Guardian investigations showed that a large percentage of filling stations were under lock and key yesterday, while the few that had fuel have indiscriminately hiked the pump price to as high as N140 per litre, as against the N87 per litre offical rate.
Meanwhile, the black marketers have found a booming market selling at about N200 per litre at strategic locations. As the fuel crisis lingers, power outage have also hit hard on the masses, who cannot operate their power generating sets due to lack of fuel.
Some Nigerians though took to social media to blame President Muhammadu Buhari for the hardship caused by the fuel scarcity. They also blasted the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the way the party promised a lot but few results have so far been seen in nine months.
As the fuel scarcity bites harder, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has expressed concerns about Nigerians who are currently stockpiling fuel. The Corps Marshal, Mr. Boboye Oyeyemi, called on Nigerians to reconsider the habit as the flammable product poses very serious hazard in case of road crash. He noted that it is better to bear with the crunch of the moment than to store fuel in vehicles, whether commercial or private.
According to a statement released by the Head Media Relations and Strategy, Corps Commander Bisi Kazeem, the corps has noticed that it has become a trend among most commercial vehicle drivers during periods of fuel scarcity and urged passengers who notice such moves by their drivers to question it and reject travelling with the vehicles.
“Aside the fact that the product is flammable, not all passengers are healthy; some are asthmatic and cannot bear breathing gasoline in such airtight conditions,” Boboye said.
The situation monitored yesterday was still chaotic inspite of the news, which filtered in that the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASAN) have called off their strike action after a meeting with the Federal Government.
Hopefully, fuel stations will be decongested and normalcy will be restored in the coming days.