AGONIES FOR N50 KEROSENE

Group Managing Director-NNPC Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu

Group Managing Director-NNPC Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu

It was a palpable frustration on the face of a middle aged clergyman who identified as Evangelist John as his hope of getting kerosene at the new price of N50 met with a brick wall.

He had come to the Conoil fuel station at Ikotun, a densely populated suburban area of Lagos with a 10 litre jerry can hoping to get some of the product at the 61% reduced price after it was reduced from N130 to N50.

John disclosed he had come the previous night but for the number of people on the queue, he decided to return the next morning to make his purchase but his calculation was wrong-The crowd grew larger

After waiting for couple of hours with no  signs that the attendants were willing to sell for anyone, he became dejected as according to him, he had none left at home.

John said he knew there were products left only that the operators of the fuel station were trying to hoard it in order that they can sell it at higher prices for their pecuniary gains.

Profiteering in petroleum products is almost a norm in Nigeria where consumers are made to pay more through over pricing, under dispensing and sharp practices like corruptly adjusting the meters of fuel dispensers.
He complained about the anomalies that often pervaded the sales of kerosene whenever the price is slashed to soothe the masses’ pain of buying at high prices.

Meanwhile, at a corner at the fuel station converged some people comprising men and women with big jerry cans and several of them brought by individuals haggling over what to sell and the amount to buy albeit illicitly.

A woman in her mid 50s miffed by the side arrangement raised her voice over the indecent bargaining going on while others are waiting endlessly to buy the product at the normal price.

The woman beratedKero the staff of the fuel station for unnecessarily increasing the price in less than 12 hours for personal gains.

It was the alarm from the woman who also threatened that if government should be aware of their shady deals, that the fuel station would be sealed up that geared the men to their subconscious state.

The attendants our correspondent learnt had wanted to sell the kerosene at the rate of N85 for those who would go and resell at retail prices to the final consumers before they were jolted by the woman.

John and the woman were just two of the many people whose hopes of buying kerosene at the regulated price were dashed.

Meanwhile, visits to some private fuel stations revealed that kerosene is still being sold at the old price of N130. Although such stations are not crowded with buyers, they are not willing to part with the product at lesser price whatsoever.

At some NNPC stations, the products are no longer in stock as it was conspicuous because there were no queues even as the station attendants said the fuel station would have been flooded by buyers who get to the station as early as 5am before the station actually opened,

Businessman, Femi Otedola confirmed recently that Kerosene would start selling at all his stations at the official price of just N50 per litre. Otedola said the fuel, dubbed “Buhari kerosene” would sell in stations across the country. Long queues were reportedly seen in some stations.

The move is seen as a bid by Otedola to key into President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan to alleviate poverty in Nigeria. The federal government through the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had earlier directed that petroleum marketers sell kerosene at N50 in order to make it more affordable for Nigerian. Otedola reportedly directed that outlets follow the official price proposed by the president.

It was reported that Otedola had made revelations about the shady activities of some oil dealers who sold kerosene as airline fuel to airline operators.

In a statement reportedly signed by the Forte Oil boss, he said: “This illicit act has been identified as the major factor contributing to the rising cost of kerosene in the country and may also be the cause of some of the air mishaps we have encountered in the country in recent times.”

Kerosene bears some semblance to airline fuel which is what made it possible for some people to engage in the illicit trade.

Over eighty percent of Nigeria’s urban and surburban population depend on kerosene for domestic use as a source of energy.

Kerosene stoves and lamps are ubiquitous features in homes in a country where the drive for increased power supply over the years is seemingly endless.

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