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Published On: Tue, Dec 16th, 2014

Petrol: Black marketers record boom as scarcity spreads in Abuja

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Fuel hawkers waiting for buyers, yesterday as fuel scarcity hits Abuja.By Stanley Onyekwere

As the long queues spread at some petrol filling stations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), illegal hawkers of petroleum products, otherwise called black marketers, are cashing on the situation to make brisk business.

Following the strike action embarked by oil workers on Monday, the scarce commodity has vanished beyond the reach of many motorists.

Recall that the return of fuel queues to Abuja and environs caused a widespread disruption of products supply at most petrol stations, while the black market is witnessing a boom in sales.

Peoples Daily investigations revealed that while motorist struggle for hours in search of the scarce commodity, fuel vendors were getting it at ease to sell at black market rates

In the black market, price of the scarce commodity have almost doubled, as ten litre gallon of Premium Mentholated Spirit (PMS) known as petrol was sold between N1, 800 and N2,000 yesterday, translating into a litre now sellingat rate of N180 and N200 respectively.

At major roads within the Abuja metropolis, these black marketers are seen with the petrol in 10-litter and 20-litter gallons, either waiting for patronage or selling to motorists along the road.

Also, a visit to various petrol outlets within the Abuja city centres, indicated the same scenario all over, with a lot of hovering around the area with the product, while motorists are waiting on the long queues to get the scarce commodity from the pumps.

According to a black marker, Umar Abu, who seen hawking the product at a busy black market spot, adjoining a petrol station located around Bannex Junction, in Wuse 2, Abuja, since the strike action began, they have been are recording a boom in the business.

He disclosed that as at yesterday he sold a10 litre petrol between N1, 800 and N2, 000  to willing motorists, predicting a further increase if the situation persisted.

He said although the situation is biting hard on many people in the capital city, but they (the black marketers) are smiling to the banks with huge money.

“Prior to this current fuel scarcity, most of us in the oil black market were virtually doing nothing, as we recorded low sales, but with the disappearance of the product at major fuel stations, we are recording a boom in the business.

“We would want the situation to continues, at least for about two weeks, so that we can make enough money to celebrate the yuletide season, and start life in the New Year ahead,” he expressed.

Investigations revealed long queues are still present and getting longer at filling stations within the city centre and along roads in Gwagwalada, Zuba, Nyanya and Kubwa axis of the nation’s capital.

According to our correspondent who monitored the fuel situation in the city yesterday, most filling stations were not selling as they closed to motorists.

Further investigations revealed that major fuel stations sell at the approved pump price of N95, but with lengthy unending queues while some others purportedly stockpile the commodity, and sell to black marketers at night.

It was also suspected that some of the major petrol outlets used the cover of darkness to sell the products to some desperate motorists at higher prices.

The situation has forced most of the motorists to park their vehicles at home while some residents have resorted to either stay indoors or trek during morning and evening rush hours to and from their various places of work.

It was gathered that the industrial action embarked upon the oil workers under the umbrella of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG).

The workers reportedly embarked on the action to register their displeasure over the unfair practices, such as transfer and termination of appointment of national officers of the two unions.

Reports say that the aggrieved workers insisted that the strike will affect all operations in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry, as their members will be withdrawn from all oil and gas installations.

The striking workers had maintained that they will not suspend until there is a strong commitment from the government and affected managements/operators to resolve the issues.”

Expectedly, there are fewer vehicles plying the road, and few commercial operators along the major routes inside and outside the FCT have doubled their fares to various destinations.

Consequently, commuters in the nation’s capital and environs have begun to feel impact of the situation,as reflected in hikes in transport fares.

Also, they have started experiencing difficulties on their usual route to work, as they had to wait for hours at bus stations for vehicles.

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