The price of kerosine has hit an all-time high of N350 per litre in parts of Lagos. This is just as Nigerians who rely on the product for their domestic use have urged President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene in the sector to bring down the price.
The consumers who spoke with LEADERSHIP from long queues in major fuel stations yesterday in Lagos called for immediate action from the president to clamp down on those they said were hoarding the products in order to continue to rip off the people.
An angry resident of Lagos, who identified herself as Mrs. Lekan, said she had been in the queue all day at the fuel station in Ojodu Berger area of Lagos only to spend the N700 she had to buy two litres of kerosene instead of five litres she had wanted to buy. She said the electorate did not vote for the present crop of leaders to live in sorrow and penury.
“How can anybody continue to buy kerosene for N350 a litre,” she fumed. “This has never happened before in Nigeria. In black market they are even selling it for N500 per litre. The product is nowhere. It’s just not available anywhere. You walk everywhere but you will not see kerosene to buy. I cannot use firewood because of the kind of apartment we live in, and to move to gas cooking stove is expensive too and dangerous,” she said.
Another consumer, Mrs. Agnes Onyia, told LEADERSHIP that they have been frustrated by the search for the commodity in the Lagos metropolis and the attendant high price for which the commodity is sold to the user, pointing out that in NNPC mega stations where the product is seldom available, they sell it late in the night to selected individuals.”
LEADERSHIP checks revealed that in Alausa, Ikeja a gallon of four litres of kerosene is sold N1,400, on a calculation of N350 per litre due to the scarcity of the product in the state
At Oando Plc Fuel station located in Ogunnusi Road where a large number of people were seen queuing to buy the product for N200 the attendants on duty were also collecting some kick backs from the desperate buyers to assist them to beat the queue to buy the product.
With nobody coming out to explain why the product is scare, it will be recalled that the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezeni Alison – Madueke about two weeks ago in an interactive session with Journalists in Lagos ordered the NNPC and DPR to devise a way of making the product available to the people.
She revealed then that,” Our investigation shows that kerosene has however become scarce and selling at high price due to distribution problem caused by middlemen who have made it their vocation to pilfer the product.”
Unfortunately, the various strategies deployed by NNPC as revealed by the Group Managing Director, Austin Oniwon that a monitoring committee has been constituted to monitor the movement of the product from the refinery to coastal deports, the point of discharge from the farm tanks have not yielded any positive result as the price has gone through the roof under their surveillance.