The scarcity of petroleum products in Abia State has continued in major cities of Aba and Umuahia, causing unfavorable conditions for motorists and passengers.
The crises, caused by the instability in energy sector of the country, especially strike by petroleum unions and increase in pump price by the federal government, has affected many businesses in the State as motorists found it hard to buy PMS and diesels from petrol stations in the two cities.
A visit around the two major cities of the State Aba and Umuahia showed that many petrol stations did not have products to dispense to the consumers while a few ones who were in business, sold at exorbitant prices of between N180 and N200 while Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) mega station at Ohuhu along Enugu -Port Harcourt express way and Total Filling Station, located beside general post Office Umuahia, sold at N175.
Ngozi Filling station, located at Orpet junction in Umuahia has been in business, but selling at N175 but several other stations like Oando, Aba road, Mobil, Aba road, Ogugua, Aba road, City Base Ugwunchara, all in Umuahia were without fuel on Monday when News Echo visited.
The situation was the same in Aba as a few stations who sold to customers sold at high prices, blaming the situation on economic reality of the nation.
The scarcity has resulted in increase to transport fare on traders conveying goods, especially farm produce from local markets to the city and in return, leading to more increase in prices of food stuff in the State.
When the Commissioner for Petroleum Resources Commissioner in Abia State Chief Ikpechukwu Onuoha was contacted at his office in the State secretariat, Umuahia, he was not on seat but a senior staff who spoke under anonymity stated that the State Petroleum ministry was doing the best to ensure the availability of the products to Abians as according to the senior staff, his ministry would sanction any station hoarding the products from buyers.
But an Aba-based transporter, Mr Moses Enwereji blamed the situation on both the insensitivity of the federal government and greediness of petroleum marketers in the country, alleging that some major marketers resold their own products to independent marketers to sell at high prices.
The bus driver regretted that his transport business had been grossly affected by the continued scarcity, adding that the federal government had no reason to increase prices of fuel in the face of biting economic hardship
The senior staff also listed offences that may attract government’s hammer on petrol dealers to include selling above government approved prices or selling of unwholesome products.
But when informed that some stations in Aba sold at between N180 and N200, he promised that the petroleum ministry as a responsible body would “investigate the issue first before reacting”.