Artificial fuel hike hits A’Ibom, motorists bemoan


A perceived rift between tanker drivers union and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) in Akwa Ibom has led to artificial hike in pump price of premium motor spirit (PMS) generally called petrol.
Most of the filling stations including major marketers like NNPC mega stations, Oando, Mobil Fort Oil etc. in Uyo and other parts of the state have shut down operations while those with product sales it between N180 and N200 a litre.
Investigations revealed that tanker drivers in the state insisted on strike alleging that a tanker with petroleum products snatched by men of the corps in suspicion of adulterated product two weeks ago spilled and got engulfed on flames in the process of diversion to the Corps’ exhibit camp.
Another allegation revealed that the tanker drivers are also blaming officials of NSCDC for causing the accident which occurred along Calabar/Itu highway in Itu local government area of the state that claimed many lives as the product caught fire on impact few weeks ago.
Following these allegations, tankers driver union has not only down tools but also prevented all petroleum tankers from delivering products to Akwa Ibom state until the issues are settled.
The tankers driver union is demanding that the security operatives involved should provide a new tanker with petroleum product before they would allow tanker drivers to deliver petrol to the state.
Our corresponded who visited the Civil defense headquarters in Uyo for enquiries into the matter reports that the front-desk officer who took visitor’s form to the office ‎of the state commandant and the PRO returned 20minutes later to report that both were not on seat.
When contacted on phone later, the state PRO of the Corps dropped the call on our correspondent as soon as the purpose of call was revealed to him.
Akwa Ibom state does not have any petroleum depot as all deliveries are either from Calabar in Cross River State or Port Harcourt in Rivers state.
The situation which started last Saturday has further increased the already economic melt-down currently face in the country as the hike in the pump price of the petrol from government regulated price of N145 a litre to N200 is further aggravating the injury in the economic lives of people in the state
Akwa Ibom state government appears docile but an official of petroleum monitoring committee, an agency of the state government in an interview described the demand of tanker drivers union as outrageous.
Meanwhile, the DPR controller in the state, Mr. Bassey Nkanga has blamed the Civil Defence security operatives for the artificial scarcity currently witnessed in the state. He has also promises to wade into the matter to ensure the crisis is promptly resolved.
‎Nkanga has appealed to petroleum marketers not to take advantage of the crisis to inflict pains on the consumers, and promised to hold talks with the head of the civil defence in the state to end the misunderstanding.
He however admitted that there was a case of a tanker suspected of carrying adulterated product, and the tanker was apprehended by the civil defence, but, unfortunately, as they were driving the truck to their exhibit yard, the tanker fell and spill the product”.
Meanwhile, consumers of petroleum products in Akwa Ibom state have appealed to the state government to intervene and ‎put an end to the problem which has been on for five days running.


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