By; AMOS TAUNA, Kaduna
The Middle Belt Forum,(MBF), has observed with concern the persistent shortage of petrol in several parts of the country and the release of a template for petrol prices for the month of March by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) that put the price of petrol at N212, 61 per litre.
The statement noted that despite denials by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that it has not approved any increase in the pump price of the product, many of the filling stations have continued to inflict pains on motorists at various stations.
Dr Isuwa Dogo, National Publicity Secretary of the forum in a statement, stated, “In most filling stations, fuel attendants are using one or two pumps to dispense fuel, while leaving others unused, thus leading to growing queues at filling stations and creating chaotic conditions for petrol-seeking motorists.”
The statement lamented, “Our attention has been drawn to the persistent shortage of petrol in several parts of the country, following the release of a template for petrol prices for the month of March by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) that put the price of petrol at N212, 61 per litre.”
It said that it is sad and regrettable that after several days of suffering imposed on innocent Nigerians, most motorists have continued to encounter difficulties in buying the commodity, adding that queues at the nation’s filling stations have continued to cast long and despairing shadows on the chances of ending the fuel shortage.
“More worrisome, officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) have made little efforts to ensure filling stations are not engaged in behind-the-scenes maneuvers. The DPR has continued to embrace loud silence and pretended to look the other way as fuel attendants and owners of petrol stations continue to fleece helpless citizens over a commodity that is not in short supply,” the statement regretted.
According to the statement, in the face of excruciating difficulties trailing the purchase of fuel in various parts of our country, the forum called on President Muhammadu Buhari to stop further under-the-table deals by fuel stations in order to save motorists of anguish and suffering as a result of this contrived scarcity.
The MBF said it is disgusted by the presence of black marketers in front of fuel stations and streets hawking fuel in jerry cans that should be dispensed in filling stations.
The statement observed,”Following the hoax surrounding the hike in petrol, the cost of transportation has also shot to the roof, with prices of foodstuff and other essential commodities spiraling to the peak. The deliberate refusal by DPR to checkmate the activities of these filling stations that are collaborating with unscrupulous fuel attendants is capable of not only increasing the current hardship in the country, but also pose grave economic consequences on citizens.”
It explained that the NNPC has categorically declared that it has not approved any form of increase in the pump price of petrol. On the strength of this declaration and called on the NNPC to order the DPR officials to wade into the problem and force filling stations to fully deploy their fuel pumps to quickly clear away the queues at petrol stations and end the nightmare experienced by motorists.
“Nigeria has the capacity to build refineries and embark on refining petroleum products to be sold locally at cheaper prices for improved economic growth. The present administration should find means of making our moribund refineries to work in order to stop further importation of petroleum products,” the statement observed.