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The Middle Belt Forum, MBF, says it has observed with concern the persistent shortage of petrol in several parts of the country and the release of a template for petrol prices by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA).
In a press statement, the MBF noted that despite denials by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that it has not approved any increase in the pump price of petrol, many filling stations have continued to hoard product, inflicting pain on motorists.
Dr Isuwa Dogo, National Publicity Secretary of the forum said, “In most filling stations, fuel attendants are using one or two pumps to dispense fuel, while leaving others unused, thus leading to growing queues at filling stations and creating chaotic conditions for petrol-seeking motorists.”
The group said it is regrettable that the DPR has made no efforts to ensure that filling stations are not engaged in behind-the-scenes manoeuvres.
“The DPR has continued to embrace loud silence, looking the other way as fuel attendants and owners of petrol stations continue to fleece helpless citizens over a commodity that is not in short supply,” the statement regretted.
The forum called on President Muhammadu Buhari to stop further under-the-table deals by fuel stations to save motorists of anguish and suffering as a result of this contrived scarcity.
The MBF said it is disgusted by the presence of black marketers in front of petrol stations, hawking fuel that should be dispensed in filling stations in jerry cans and on the streets.
The statement observed, “Following the hoax surrounding the hike in petrol, the cost of transportation has also shot to the roof, with prices of foodstuff and other essential commodities spiralling to the peak. The deliberate refusal by DPR to checkmate the activities of these filling stations that are collaborating with unscrupulous fuel attendants is capable of not only increasing the current hardship in the country but also posing grave economic consequences on citizens.”
The group called on the NNPC which has denied the approval of any increase to order the DPR officials to wade into the problem and force filling stations to fully deploy their fuel pumps to quickly clear the queues at petrol stations and end the nightmare experienced by motorists.
“Nigeria can build refineries and embark on refining petroleum products to be sold locally at cheaper prices for improved economic growth. The present administration should find means of making our moribund refineries to work to stop further importation of petroleum products,” the statement observed.