By Patrick Ochei
Vehicle owners, commercial drivers and Asaba residents alike have commended the Management of Northwest Petroleum and Gas Limited for creating succour in the midst of fuel crisis that bedevilled the entire country this 2017 Yuletide season.
The commuters, mostly commercial drivers on transit, praised the petroleum company for doing her business honestly, even in the midst of an opportunity to skyrocket profit. These commuters were interviewed during our on the spot assessment of the fuel crisis within Asaba and environs, where they openly expressed their heartfelt commendation to Northwest Petroleum for sticking to the Federal Government’s approved pump price and also making products available for sale.
It could be recalled that while the PMS palaver lasted, only North-West amongst mega filling stations in Asaba, except NNPC Mega Station sold at the stipulated price of #145 per litre.
However, where the NNPC Mega Station was mostly closed without products, in spite of the NNPC GMD’s boast that NNPC Mega Stations across the country should sell fuel 24 hours a day; that was not the case with NNPC Asaba Mega Station, but North-West Petroleum Resources was selling regularly.
Another disappointment was the Rain Oil, the biggest oil marketer in Delta State. Residents of Asaba and transitory road users had had high hopes that with the Rain Oil mega stations and other smaller filling stations scattered within the state capital, there would be availability of products and less of panic buying.
That was not entirely the case, as Rain Oil filling stations sold fuel atN180 and sometimes with no fuel to dispense.
It is equally instructive to note that virtually all NNPC subsidiary franchise filling stations were closed during this crisis. This business incapacity assisted other filling stations to flood the metropolis with adulterated products, reasonably condensate.
Perhaps, filling stations like Alfa Bykeez with more of adulterated products sold as high as N230 and N250 per litre.
Meanwhile, we are yet to hear that the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR sealed off any filling station in Asaba either for hoarding products or selling above the stipulated pump price. Their threats were more of a toothless bulldog, merely asking the people to report recalcitrant PMS marketers who were hoarding products or selling above pump price when they actually knew what to do.
Moreover, economy observers have predicted that sooner or later, citizens would begin to feel the excruciating impact posed by the fuel scarcity. They stressed that citizens had extremely spent beyond their limits just to function within the festive season; adding that the effect would be more when it is time to pay for house rent, to pay for school fees, to resume life in January and possibly when cars begin to malfunction as a result of the bad fuel they had functioned with this period.