In the last couple of days, residents of Calabar and commuters especially, have been experiencing difficulty commuting from one part of the city to the other because of the artificial scarcity of fuel that has suddenly hit the city. At some point in the past week and up to this week, only three filling stations were selling fuel in the Municipality and at between N110 to N150 a litre. Long queues are also visible and vehicle owners are beginning to spend long hours at the stations where fuel is available. The situation has not abated.
At the time of going to press, www.calitown.com investigations point to the fact that the unfortunate situation is a direct fallout of the stand-off between tanker drivers and the Cross River State Government Sources say the Department of Public Transportation, DOPT, acting for government, is insisting that the tanker drivers move to a trailer park designated by government, but the drivers are insisting that they cannot move away from their present park, close to the NNPC depot as this will make their operations very cumbersome.
But independent observers seem to side DOPT, pointing out that for the long trailer queues that ply and park on both sides of the depot road, often obstructing human and vehicular traffic, it is expedient that the trailers are moved to the park that government has designated; it is something the tanker drivers do not want to hear. Fuel marketers on their part have cashed in on the stand-off, immediately hoarding the commodity and creating a price hike that is crippling economic activities in Calabar. On the long stretch that is the Parliamentary Rd. Extension in Calabar, the queues at the three stations selling fuel are long and winding. One driver told www.calitown.com that he had to skip going to church on Sunday to get on the queue knowing that the situation will get worse within the week. By Monday this new week, the situation has become dire as most people spend endless hours at filling stations in the hope of getting petrol.
Unfortunately, sources within the tanker drivers union do not seem to bait any eyelid as more and more people continue to go through the stress of a scarcity that is man made. For now, commuters are coping with an attendant hike in transport fares and until middle ground is found by government and the tanker drivers, the situation may not change.
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