By Hassan Zaggi
The Middle Belt Forum (MBF), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and stop the severe hardship and anguish currently being faced by Nigerians as a result of what it described as “contrived fuel scarcity.”
In a statement signed by its Spokesman, Dr. Isuwa Dogo, the group said: “The MBF is disgusted by the presence of black marketers in front of fuel stations and streets hawking fuel in jerry cans that should be dispensed in filling stations.”
The Forum also called on the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to order the DPR officials to wade into the problem and force filling stations to fully deploy their fuel pumps to quickly clear away the queues at petrol stations and end the nightmare experienced by motorists.
The MBF also noted that Nigeria has the capacity to build refineries and embark on refining petroleum products to be sold locally at cheaper prices for improved economic growth, insisting that: “The present administration should find means of making our moribund refineries to work in order to stop further importation of petroleum products.”
According to the statement, the group said: “Our attention has been drawn to the persistent shortage of petrol in several parts of the country, following the release of a template for petrol prices for the month of March by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) that put the price of petrol at N212, 61 per litre.
“Despite denials by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that it has not approved any increase in the pump price of the product, many of the filling stations have continued to inflict pains on motorists at various stations.
“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.
“It is sad and regrettable that after several days of suffering imposed on innocent Nigerians, most motorists have continued to encounter difficulties in buying the commodity. Queues at the nation’s filling stations have continued to cast long and despairing shadows on the chances of ending the fuel shortage.
“More worrisome, officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) have made little efforts to ensure filling stations are not engaged in behind-the-scenes maneuvers. The DPR has continued to embrace loud silence and pretended to look 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.”