Eben Enasco Reporting.

Miffed by the unavailability and hike in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise called petrol, angry youths in Benin City, the Edo State Capital, brought to a halt vehicular movements as a way of responding to the unending fuel crisis in the country.

The protesters in their numbers caused major setbacks for road users who incidentally became victims of the agitations when they massively blocked the ever-busy Lagos-Benin Expressway at Oluku Junction, linking Ondo State and other parts of the country.

Their actions forced commuters who were on their way to Lagos and those hoping to do business in the area stranded for several hours.

Transporters plying the route who were trapped, lamented the blockade while expressing dismay over the incident.

A trader, Helen Osawese who was very displeased with the development while moving her commodities to a nearby community market in Ekiadolor said it was important to take her perishable goods to avoid sliding into a loss.

Another road user identified as Monday Ndukwe complained about the hardship the protest has cost most people, calling on the government to look into why petroleum products which he described as a necessity now creating such aggravated pains and finding a way out to permanently tackle it.

In the last two months, Nigerians have been enduring frustrating queues caused by scarcity and a hike in the pump price of petrol with many filling stations in Benin city and other parts of the country, selling petrol between N295 and N350 depending on the location and the time of the day.

The scarcity development has intensified by the counts, with motorists and other consumers of the product spending long hours at filling stations and wasting the long hours on queues that could have been put into more productive activities.

Nigeria’s government last year stated that the scarcity was due to the unavailability of vessels to ship the product into the country.

But other sources traced the scarcity of petrol to the increase in the exchange rate, which has seen many high moments in the parallel market, hitting N800/$ from November 2022 to Dec 21, 2022.

Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, is one of the products of fractional distillation of petroleum.

This product is in high demand in developing countries like Nigeria as a result of their inability to refine enough quantities of the product to meet the consumers’ needs.

Early January 2023, the Nigerian government announced that the commencement of operations at the 60,000 barrels per day Port Harcourt refinery has been shifted from December 2022 to the first quarter of this year.

In September last year, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, who was speaking after a Federal Executive Council FEC meeting, had promised Nigerians that the country’s biggest refinery would become functional by December 2022.

But that is no longer feasible, according to Sylva and the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, who both spoke at the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration Scorecard 2015 – 2023 series, anchored by the Federal Ministry of Information in Abuja.

Sylva, who concurred with Kyari that the refinery would begin work before March, explained that the government had continued to buy stakes in most privately owned refineries in the country because of the need to ensure the nation’s energy security.

With the rising tension caused by long queues, residences across the country, are at the edge of hoping for government intervention.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *