Corruption-Free Press (CF), Benin City – The wickedness, greed, insensitivity and lack of concern for the welfare and well-being of ordinary Nigerians by some of our leaders and businessmen, especially in the petroleum industry have resurfaced again with unending queue at filling stations across the country. It has become a tradition in Nigeria for people to experience fuel scarcity and arbitrary hike in pump prize of premium motor spirit otherwise known as petrol during the yuletide. This is because, the authority of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), PENGASSAN, NUPENG, IPMAN and other stakeholders in the petroleum industries usually see the period of Christmas and New Year as opportunity to exploit the people and make marginal profit by creating artificial scarcity, thereby leading to forced increased in prizes of petrol per litre.
The importance of petrol to Nigerians cannot be over emphasized. Vehicles need it to keep moving on the road and transport needed goods and services. Since the body charged with the provision of electricity supply the Power Holding Company of Nigerian (PHCN) has become epileptic, inefficient and ineffective, many small, medium and large scale businesses depend on the use of generating sets to power their businesses, and the generating set need petrol to function. Obviously, during the yuletide, businessmen of different categories have increased in volume of trade, and they are required to deliver to their customers and clients on schedule. However, with the scarcity of petrol, it is difficult for them to make ends meet. Transportation of goods and services have also become difficult, commuters now trek long distances to get to their destinations, due to lack of commercial vehicles on the road.
A visit to most petrol stations in Benin City, the Edo State capital revealed long queue of anxious buyers of the product. Some are commercial taxi drivers, others are business owners. There are long queue of vehicles, just as there are long queue of jerricans. The issue is that in most cases there is no product to be sold to those who probably have spent many hours on the queue. What a frustrating experience.
At this point, it must be stated that during the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigerians did not experience fuel scarcity during yuletide. President Mohammadu Buhari ought to have sustain that feat, rather than allowing a few “cabals” in the petroleum industry to rubbish his administration and subject Nigerians to untold hardships. However, it is not too late for Mr. President to call the “Cabals” in the petroleum industries to order. For the benefit of doubt, the cabals include NNPC, PENGASSAN, NUPENG and IPMAN. These are the organisations that always like to trade with the masses and exploit them at the slightest opportunity. There should be deliberate effort on the part of the Federal Government to end this perennial fuel scarcity, especially during Christmas and New Year celebrations. The period of Christmas and New Year ought to be for merriment, happiness and thanksgiving and not for sufferings and hardship.
It is high time our leaders at all levels reason errors for the growth and development of the nation. When people subject other people to hardship in order to exploit them economically, such a person is not only wicked and greedy, he or she is worse than money ritualists. This is so because, in the process of queuing or struggling for fuel people may sustain injuries or meet their untimely death. People’s houses or shops may be set ablaze as a result of trying to hoard fuel in jerricans either at home or at the shop. Recently, in Benin City two women died from inhaling fumes from their generating set. If there was constant supply of electricity those women would have been alive today.
Therefore, Nigerians are tired of experiencing perennial fuel scarcity and constant electricity failure in this country. Nigerians waste a lot of their hard earn resources on energy and power, whereas in smaller African countries, not to talk of Europe, America or Asia their government is always striving to achieve stable electricity supply and availability of petroleum products. This is because their leaders realised the fact that the growth and development of their society depend largely on electricity and petroleum products.
However, here in Nigeria the reverse is the case. Our leaders prefer to see their people suffering and the society backward, than to make life meaningful for Nigerians. As the saying goes “there is God” and it is the same God that will rescue Nigerians from the hands of our wicked and shylock leaders, if not now, certainly in the near future.