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Panic in Anambra as fuel scarcity hits consumers

Afam Aminu Chimezie, Onitsha

What might be termed artificial fuel scarcity has hit fuel consumers in some parts of Awka and Onitsha, in Anambra State, as Filling Stations closed down for business leaving commuters and other fuel users stranded.

At NNPC Filling Station, Enugu/Onitsha Express Road, Awka, a long queue of vehicles were seen yesterday morning while the owner waited in anticipation to purchase fuel which is still sold at the government approved price of N145 per litre.

The long queue gave in to the suspicion that imminent scarcity of the product was about to be witnessed. However, within thirty minutes all the filling stations in the city and Onitsha also shut down their businesses.

Fuel attendants were seen in corner of one of the filling stations in Onitsha discussing the shocking development.

On inquiry, a source told our correspondent that the scarcity was a result of government interference in a recent Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN) election in which the government sponsored candidate defeated another candidate against the wish of union members.

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Another source told our correspondent that the reason for the strike was not unconnected with fuel tanker explosion on Saturday at Amawbia round about in which about seven people lost their lives.

Traders and other business owners who were not aware of the fuel scarcity were stranded at the various bus stop as transport fare to their various destinations were hiked by 50% or more.

Transport owners who plied the road for the day’s business had to resort to black market where they had to pay between N300 and N400 for a litre of fuel.

A human rights lawyer, Mr. Humphrey Udechukwu and another Onitsha based human rights activist and Chairman of Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) Anambra State, Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme urged the concerned parties to resolve their differences for the interest of innocent Nigerians, especially this period of Nigeria’s general election.

The duo who decried the use of unionism to unleash sufferings on the people, however, wished that the crisis would be resolved immediately so as to restore confidence in governance and end the suffering of innocent Nigerians.