Akwa Ibom House of Assembly has stepped into the perennial fuel scarcity which has begun to take its toll as a litre of the product now sells for N500 in the state.
Petrol, at whichever service station that is open for business, sold for between N350 and N500 and per litre in Uyo, the state capital, yesterday.
This is a yearly occurrence as marketers or tanker drivers, who usually trump up real or imaginary crisis between them and the state government or between them and security agencies, have, this year, again, refused to load products to the state, on the allegation that one of their members was harassed by security agents; a situation which led to loss of products and a tanker.
The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), was said to have put the cost of the damage on the state government, else, they would not lift the products to the state.
Akwa Ibom, though touted as the highest producer of crude oil, has no refinery, no depot or tank farm to store petroleum products; hence, the citizens catch cold each time the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria “IPMAN) or NUPENG members sneeze.
But, the House of Assembly said it is deeply “concerned about the gruelling fuel situation in the state, which has exposed the people to untold hardship in the past few days.”
A statement signed by the Deputy Leader, Mr. Ime Okon, who is also the Chairman, Committee on Information, said while the House understood that the business of fuel distribution is in the hands of private individuals and almost solely controlled by non-government enterprises, “we believe as a House that government and stakeholders in the distribution subsector can make relevant interventions to end the crisis and ameliorate the sufferings of our people.
“Following our personal experiences in the past two days, and the complaints inundating the House of Assembly, the Speaker has accordingly directed the Committee on Petroleum Matters to immediately summon stakeholders and interface with the groups whose grievance we learnt is behind this artificial scarcity. Instant solution has to be proffered.
“In the meantime, we plead with the marketers and distributors to quickly sort out their private issues and make the products available to the people while they dialogue with concerned parties.
“It is unacceptable that certain individuals and groups will tower their private interests above the common good of the generality Akwa Ibom people, subjecting everyone to this level of hardship for whatever reason.”
Source: The Sun