by Ahmad Isyaku Katsina
It is an undeniable fact that Nigerians have witnessed the unprecedented severe oil crisis in the country and the government is doing its best to defuse the crisis. However, it is heartbreaking that some unscrupulous petrol dealers and black marketers choose to take advantage of the situation of oil scarcity in the country, exploiting the crisis to further their own means in which the latter buys the fuel from the former that hoards it against the public and sells it mainly to the black marketers at nights, and as a consequence of that making the oil shortage worst and intense in filling stations to the detriment of Nigerians who resort to buying it from black market at outrageous prices. It is now a common knowledge that many filling stations blatantly sell petrol at higher prices, above the approved pump price of N86.50 per litre, inflating the price outrageously on daily basis or weekly – selling above the regulated N86.50 per litre as ordered by Federal Government. In Katsina , though the petrol price fluctuates in the state, recently petrol price hike hit N1000 per gallon in black market with N200 per litre in some filling stations.
Although some people are taking it out on the government that is doing its best to handle the crisis and fuel dealers as well as black marketers are pointed at with accusing finger for the skyrocketing price of petrol as they amass the petroleum product in their storage tanks, sometimes they even divert the petrol trucks to dormant filling stations in order to avoid public eye or Department of Petroleum Resources officials (DPR), the finger of blame also fell on some corrupt DPR officials who connive with fuel dealers to the detriment of Nigerians, DPR officials who are supposed to oversee the activities of filling stations and seal any filling station caught hoarding petrol product and to ensure that the stations are selling the fuel at the approved N86.50 per litre. Apparently petrol dealers in filling stations allegedly offer fleshy bribe to some corrupt DPR officials who collect the bribe to allow them sell the fuel at higher prices or for the officials to pretend that they have no knowledge of some filling stations selling petrol above the approved pump price. Apparently these corrupt officials are also happy with the crisis as they get loads of money from the offered bribes of some fuel dealers. Thus fueling the oil crisis.
Following this petrol price hike, some state governments like Katsina and Kaduna have recently shown concern on the issue, in an effort to deal with the oil crisis in Katsina State, the Governor of Katsina State , His Excellency Alh Aminu Bello Masari has made a commendable effort by embarking on visits to filling stations in the state in order to ensure that the stations sell the fuel at the approved N86.50 per litre. He has also called on the filling stations that are dispensing fuel with one nuzzle to open all their nuzzles so as to avoid long queue that causes artificial scarcity. One could tell that if the DPR officials in the state had been seriously doing their job well the Governor would not have been there supervising the filling stations by himself. One might think they are either dragging their feet over their duties for some reason or there is something happening which the public have no idea. Also, in Kaduna State, Governor Nasir El-Rufai has banned petrol black market based on some reasons and in order to ease the hardship of oil shortages in the state.