GEORGE KAJO, Makurdi
Residents of Benue state state especially that of Makurdi are living under acute shortage of fuel and water scarcity in the past few weeks.
As such families now resort to sleeping at fuel filling stations to purchase the products which are sold between N220 and N230 prr litre at independent marketers while the case is different at major marketers.
Checks by Moneycentral across some select filling stations within the metropolis reveals that at the Jenny filling station along Modern market road, fuel is selling at the official rate of N165 per litre even with long queues.
At the NNPC MEGA filling station along Oturkpo road Makurdi, motorist resort to queuing up as early as 5:00pm to purchase the product at official rate the following day.
A road side black marketer, Roseline Agba told our correspondent that she acquired the product from the filling station at a very high cost in which a liter goes for N400 for intending customers.
“I have to tip filling station attendants before they will fill a 20 jerry can for me. I’m also out to make profit and have to sell it at that price to remain in business.”
A motor cyclists, Mr John Aboyi told our correspondent that, he had to spend hours on the queue to buy the product and have to increase the price of a drop on his motorcycle to N200 depending on the distance.
Aboyi said, in some cases, they resort to going from Makurdi to Igbor in search of the product at exorbitant prices, calling government to increase the supply and make life easy for citizens.
Checks at the motor parks reveals that, transport fair from Makurdi by Benue Links picnic to Abuja remains N3,000 while same bus at Head bridge is also N3,000 as against N2,500.
A transport fare from Makurdi to Vandeikya which used to be N1,500 is now N2,500 while from Makurdi to Gboko cost N1000 as against the former N500.
Meanwhile, water scarcity within Makurdi, the state capital remains one of the essential commodity that commoners could not access in the nearest future.
A resident of Old GRA Makurdi, Mr. Jerome Korna averred that the Benue State Water Board have not made any supply in the past three weeks, thereby, compelling consumers to go for water vendors whose source of water could not be ascertained.
When contacted, the state Controller, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr Agba, described the scarcity as ‘artificial’, saying those filling stations violating the regulations have been pencilled down for punishment.
He said, if such stations are closed down, the woes of the consumers would be compounded; noting that investigation revealed that some vehicles will go into the station, refill and later discharge to road side black market sellers.