BREAKING.. Ogoja, Yala Community Leaders Allegedly Seal Petrol Stations With Palm Fronds Over Indiscriminate Fuel Price Adjustments

Apr 27, 2024 - 16:51
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BREAKING..  Ogoja, Yala Community Leaders Allegedly Seal  Petrol Stations With Palm Fronds Over Indiscriminate Fuel Price Adjustments

By Ndifereke BASSEY

Trouble is brewing at Okuku and Ishibori communities in Cross River north as youths and elders have allegedly sealed most filling stations with palm fronds over indiscriminate adjustment of pump prices of petroleum products.

The community leaders are demanding that the petrol dealers must sell at government approved N680 per liter as against N750 and N800 per liter sold by marketers.

THE BEAGLE NEWS investigations revealed that the elders and youths were piqued at the attitude of independent petrol marketers who have consistently flouted governemnt directives on the sale of petroleum products at various locations and states.

Trouble, however, started at the weekend when some motorists went to some petrol stations at Okuku in Yala and Isibori in Ogoja and discovered that dealers have suddenly adjusted pump prices to between N750 and N900 per liter on a flimsy excuse that the products are not available.

On getting wind of the new price at Okuku, some Okada riders protested vehemently and went back and reported the to community elders and youth leaders.

The community elders were said to have promptly intervened and tried to convince the pump attendants and some marketers within the axis to bring down the price but they gave dead ears to the plea and rather threatened to deal with the elders if they dare interfer with their business.

Embarrassed by the threats and emboldened by the youths around, the elders led by one Chief Michael Okoh went back and brought palm fronds and allegedly sealed off all the petrol stations around that were selling at between N750 and N900.

Chief Okoh was said to have instructed the youths to deal ruthlessly with any marketer who dared removed the traditional injunctions represented by the palm fronds without consulting the community.

THE BEAGLE NEWS gathered that on getting wind of what happened at Okuku, elders of Ishibori community too mobilised their youths and equally sealed off some filling stations that were still dispensing fuel at between N750 and N900.

Worried by the action of the community, other independent marketers in Yala and Ogoja resolved to shut their stations and refused to sell products to members of the public, thereby creating artificial scarcity.

As at Sunday, the few marketers, who open for business, have further hiked the pump price of petrol to between N900 and N1,200 and they mostly sell to black marketers who in turn sell at N1,500 per liter in the night.

THE BEAGLE NEWS further gathered authouritatively that these marketers for quite a while have been selling petrol at between N680 and N750 and at times N900 depending on the location of the filling station.

It was learnt that these marketers also ration sells as a few would open between the morning hours and close while others would open from 3:00pm down to create an impression of file scarcity.

Lamenting their plight, a youth leader of Nkim-Ishiborr, Atim Ushonye, said: "We are passing through hell in the hands of petrol marketers in Ogoja as they sell fuel as they like not mindong what the masses are facing.

"A few days ago, these marketers were selling fuel between N750 and N800 at Okuku in Yala and the community pleaded with them and they refused.

In anger, they sealed the filling stations with palm fronds. "The same thing happened in Ishibori in Ogoja as community leaders and youths tried to intervene pleading with petrol dealers to bring down pump price and they ignored them.

So, For daring the community, stations involved in the shaddy deals were sealed. "I can tell you that these marketers are just being wicked to our people.

These marketers now capitalised on what is happening and closed down all their members' stations. T

hey now sell exorbitantly and discreetly to black market fuel dealers between N1,200 per litre while they in turn sell N1,500 per litre to OKada riders."

Also lamenting, a motorist who simply identified himself as Emmanuel Ikani, said:"These marketers have created artificial scarcity to rip us off. We now buy at N1,000 per litre. So how much would be transport fares to Calabar and other areas?

"OKada riders now charge N1,500 from Ogoja junction to Igoli. How would poor market women and other artisans who use petrol for their businesses survive? We call on government agencies Iand petrol regulators to intervene before the situation gets out of hand."

When THE BEAGLES NEWS put a call across to the Calabar Depot Chairman of Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Comrade Robert Obi, for an explanation, it was not returned as at the time of going to press.