Residents of Awka, the Anambra capital, have called on President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime to address the price disparity between independent marketers’ outlets and those operated by depot owners.
The customers made the call following the observed difference in the price of petrol at an outlet allegedly belonging to a tank farm owner in the town and those of independent marketers.
They expressed worries that while independent marketers’ outlets struggled to sell between N300 and N320 per litre, the tank farm owner’s outlet sold between N200 and N220 per litre.
They wondered why major marketers who could control the price, like NNPC mega stations, Conoil, Total, Oando and Mobil in the town, were not selling because of a lack of products.
Jude Nnaeto, in Awka, said it was worrisome that people could stay in the queue for almost the whole day to buy petrol at N220 per litre while others were selling at N300.
Mr Nnaeto said the challenge with a hike in price may not be far from activities at the depots and called on the regime to find out why depot owners’ outlets will be selling at a low rate in the face of the ongoing scarcity.
“This is injustice. How can there be a price difference of over N100 per litre in the same city? Look at the long queues of vehicles struggling to buy fuel at N220 while others are selling at N300 or more at other places,” stated Mr Nnaeto. “For this outlet to sell at this rate without problem, it means they can sell to independent marketers at a price that will make them at the same range. It is time the federal government addresses this.”
Another customer, who identified herself as Madam Jane, said the masses had a harsh Christmas and New Year celebration because of the problem of petrol scarcity.
Ms Jane expressed worry that the authorities in charge of petroleum products distribution and regulation had not tried to protect the masses by addressing the price hike.
Chinedu Anyaso, chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Enugu Depot in charge of Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu states, described the situation as unfortunate.
Mr Anyaso said the solution was for NNPC to sell directly to independent marketers and ensure that major marketers’ outlets had products to sell to consumers.
He said marketers are businesses who do their best to get products and serve the public and would continue to ensure it is available at the prevailing price.