In the wake of the impasse between fuel tanker drivers and the Cross River State Government, which has resulted in the unavailability of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, in several petrol stations in Calabar, www.calitown.com can authoritatively reveal that a litre of petrol presently sells for between N250 to N300, in the ancient city, a long shot away from the official pump price of N97.
The commodity, available to mostly black market operators who presently dot several areas in Calabar, has hit an all time price hike that is slowly crippling economic activities and making life difficult. At several bus stops in the city, commuters can be seen endlessly waiting for the very few vehicles still plying routes in the city. Transport fares have also shot up; a short taxi ride which use to cost N50, is now N100, while long taxi rides from Watt market to Highway/8 Miles cost an unbelieveable N250-N300, depending on a commuter’s luck or bargaining power. Most taxi drivers say the hike in fares reflect the stress they have to go through to get petrol; some have resorted to buying petrol from neighbouring Akwa Ibom state all in a bid to get around the situation.
At the Mobil filling station on MCC Road, a large contingent of black market operators can be seen attending to motorists, eager to get petrol. One operator told www.calitown.com in Pidgin English that, “as this thing come happen so, we thank God because plenty of us wey no been get wetin to do, dey now sell black market fuel take survive”. Asked if he was happy at the hard times motorists and commuters are presently going through, he snidely responded, “na Liyel Imoke and him people go answer that kind question, my own na to hustle here carry go home. If government never see say wahala dey town, na me wan see?”, he concluded. Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports say students of the University of Calabar may be planning to stage a peaceful protest to try to force both government and the striking tanker drivers to resolve this dispute.
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