Scarcity of petroleum product has taken a more dangerous dimension in Cross River State.
A visit by DAILY POST correspondent to many filling stations on Sunday, showed that there was no fuel in the State.
However, one filling station that has the product recorded very long queue. Eventually, black marketers are making fortunes by selling a litre of fuel for between N250 and N300.
Nelson Akpan said he had been at the filling station for over three hours without buying as the product got finished when he got to the pump. "It's very sad. After waiting in the queue for over three hours and my turn to buy, the fuel finished. I'm supposed to be in the Church but here I am, yet I have not been able to get the fuel. In fact, I don't know the reason for the scarcity.
"For a very long time, we have not experienced scarcity of fuel, particularly during Christmas. Now what are those going for the celebration going to do? The cost of transport has already increased by 200%.
"A taxi is now N100 a drop or more depending on your distance. The All Progressives Congress (APC) government is a failure. It is disappointing that Nigerians can faced this kind of hardship again," he fumed. Another fuel buyer who gave his name as Onofiok said, "Before now, a litre of petrol was sold at N145 but it's now N200-N250 or more per litre while black market sold at N300-N350 a litre".
He said that the scarcity of the product has already caused untold hardship on the residents of the city. "It has taken a more dangerous dimension now, especially at this yuletide period."
Chief Samuel Okorie said that the increase has affected the economy of the state as the prices of food stuff have increased tremendously. The cause of transportation is said to have gone up by 100%. "A distance of N50 now goes for N100 or more. Already, the cost of transportation from one point to another has increased tremendously," he stated.
Chief Antigha Eyo resident in Calabar lamented, "The reason for the scarcity has not been known but called on federal government and President Buhari to intervene urgently so that Nigerians would have blissful Christmas"
However, the prices of Garri and Rice, the most stable food for the people in the State have gone up by 100-200 percent. The scarcity of the products has not only hindered economic growth but has caused inconveniences as the long queues equally hinder traffic flow in the city, making some streets impassable.
Chief Antigha Eyo said that the scarcity has affected economic, political and social activities in the state. Sadly, filling stations in Calabar, Odukpani, Akpabuyo, Bakassi and Akamkpa in Cross River state have no product while those that have opened their doors to customers on condition that the product would be bought at N200 per litre.
People were seen roaming various filling stations in the state looking for the product that is unavailable to buy. Again, the scarcity has spread to Central and Northern Districts of Cross River States.
Some of the players in the industry claimed ignorance of the scarcity as they turned down interviews claiming that they do not have an idea on the cause of the scarcity.