EVEN IN THE FACE OF CHANGE? Fuel Price Still Sky High In Abuja

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Nigerians queuing for fuel at a filling station in Lagos. Photo: Seun Joseph
Nigerians queuing for fuel at a filling station in Lagos. Photo: The Sheet

Fuel prices have remained very high and still varies in different filling stations in Abuja and other parts of the country despite the promise of stakeholders in the petroleum sector to make the commodity available and at an affordable price.

Investigations revealed that at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, mega stations along the Kubwa Expressway, some officials of the outlet have connived with some policemen and security agents to frustrate motorists and heighten the suffering of Nigerians

When Vanguard visited the petrol station, some policemen stationed outside the entrance were collecting N1,000 from some motorists and allowing them to enter into the petrol station through the exit gate, thereby, leaving other motorists who had queued for hours stranded.

Only 9 out of the over 40 pumps in the station were dispensing to motorists.

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Two of the pumps were selling to the hundreds of vehicles on the queue, while the rest were selling to black marketers and other motorists who have bribed the officials of the petrol station and policemen at the gate.

Mr. Ohi Alegbe, spokesperson for the NNPC, and Managing Director of the NNPC Retail Limited, operators of the mega stations and other NNPC retail outlets, refused to respond to enquiries and complaints sent to them over the issue, even as the situation continued late into the night at the petrol stations.

One of the motorists said he had been on the queue since 5 am but was not yet halfway to the entrance of the petrol station because of the sharp practices in the station.

A source who pleaded anonymity said: “Some motorists and black market operators came through the other side of the road, choosing not to queue, they drove straight to the exit gate of the petrol station, where they offered N1,000 bribe to some policemen, military men and the officials of the petrol station stationed at the gate. The exit gate is then opened for these people to go in.

As this is going on, people on the queue remained on the spot for several hours, without any movement.”

Another motorist, who also chose to remain anonymous, said: “The black marketers come mainly in Volkswagen Golf cars, with extra tanks at the boot of the vehicles. After filling the tanks of their vehicles, the attendants go ahead to fill the extra tanks at the back of the vehicles. Sometimes, these tanks collect as much as 270 litres of petroleum.

These black marketers bribe policemen and officials of the NNPC mega stations to the tune of N3,500 per trip and this illicit act is not only happening here, but in other NNPC stations across Abuja .”

The NNPC retail outlet along the Abuja-Nyanya Expressway was selling at N120 per litre, while the NNPC station at Zuba in Abuja were selling to motorists at between N100 and N120 per litre.

Black marketers continue to have a field day even at the front of the NNPC headquarters in Abuja, and on the roads leading to the office of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR.

Furthermore, most of the petrol stations in Abuja were shut, while the few that were selling were besieged by a large number of motorists.

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