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Economic activities crippled in FCT as fuel scarcity persists

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Amid the economic hardship ravaging the entire nation, sources of livelihood in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, seem to be threatened following the incessant scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popularly called petrol.

A check by our correspondent on Saturday revealed that while some fuel stations remain shut for lack of the product, some of the stations along Zuba are selling above N250 per litre, a development that has made transportation difficult for residents.

The long queue in most fuel stations in the territory are worrisome as motorists continue to lament the difficulty in getting the product.

According to the Federal Government, the queue which resurfaced two weeks ago, was birthed by the flooding situation which made roads in Lokoja, Kogi State, impassable.

We reports that several civil servants and other commuters were stranded on Friday as there was no vehicle to board.

The development also led to an obvious hike in fare, worsening the hardship already imposed on residents by the economic reality of the Giant of Africa.

Mary Achingwa, who works with the Federal Radio Corporation, told our correspondent that she spends triple of her usual fare to go to her work place everyday since the queue resurfaced early this month.

She said, “Things are just getting harder every day. We were complaining that transport fare is very expensive in Abuja not knowing that the worst was coming.

“Since this fuel crisis started, we spend triple of what we used to spend before reaching our places of work and this is so discouraging. The worst is that the price of everything increases day by day while salary remains the same”.

We findings revealed that from Dutse Alhaji to Area 1 which was hitherto N300, is currently N500 and above, while Dei-Dei to Berger and Wuse which used to be N300 and N400 is now from N500 and above.

A town service driver, Mr Olawale told our correspondent that most of the drivers buy fuel from black market at the rate of N500 per litre, stressing that it is impossible to maintain normal prices after buying the product for such an amount.

He said, “The thing is, how much are we making? It is affecting all of us. When I buy fuel at the rate of N500 per litre instead N150, you should know that the transport fare cannot be the same”.

Our correspondent also gathered that many shops situated mostly in the satellite areas of the territory are beginning to fold up over lack of petrol to generate power for their various business activities.

Barber shops, computer centres, shoe factories and other private establishments which rely majorly on generators for service to customers, are beginning to pack up in Dutse Alhaji, Dei-Dei, Kubwa, Lugbe and other parts of the city.

A resident who operates Cyber Cafe in Kubwa, Mr Chinedu Peters said he decided to lock up his shop as he is unable to buy fuel.

He said, “In this part of the city, we don’t trust public power supply so we operate with generators and now we can’t power it anymore because of fuel issues. I was in line yesterday from morning until night, yet I came home without fuel.

“If I say let me buy this black market, how much are we making that we can afford that? I just told my workers to rest for some days, maybe it will subside soon”.

However, it could be recalled that the group executive director, Downstream, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPC Ltd, Engr Adeyemi Adetunji had during a media briefing a few days ago announced the arrival of the 146 truckloads of petrol into the capital.

“146 petroleum tanker trucks have arrived at the depot for dispatch into Abuja and the environs.

“Trucks have continued to arrive at the depot for onward dispatches. Product delivery to other parts of the country are also continuing with the improved vehicular movements northwards,” Adetunji had said.

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Man, 21, to spend four years in prison for stealing Infinix phones

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An Ekiti State Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Ado Ekiti has sentenced 21-year-old Owolabi Olamide to four years imprisonment with hard labour, after he was found guilty of a five-count charge that included a break-in, stealing and escape from police custody.

The convict was arraigned before Magistrate Michael Faola on five counts of criminal charges bordering on causing a breach of peace by jumping over the fence of one Otutu Ifeanyi, unlawfully breaking into his shop, stealing items worth millions of naira, escaping from Police custody while detained for enquiry, among others.

The offences contravened and are punishable under sections 181,322,363, and 120(a) of the Criminal Law, No 12 vol.1, Laws of Ekiti State Nigeria, 2021.

The charges were read, explained and interpreted to the defendant, to which he pleaded guilty.

The complainant Otutu Ifeanyi was led in evidence by the prosecutor, Inspector Bankole Olasunkanmi. He tendered cartons of power banks, recovered Infinix phones, cartons of phones and other valuables as exhibits.

The defendant did not object to all exhibits tendered and confessed to having committed the offences as charged.

Delivering his judgment, Magistrate Michael Faola sentenced the defendant to three years imprisonment on count two (jumping over the fence) and one-year imprisonment on count five (escape from Police custody) with hard labour. Sentences are to run consecutively.

The judge ordered that all items recovered from the defendant, currently in police custody, should be released forthwith to the complainant.

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2023: APC debunks rumours of planned move of Nigeria’s capital to Lagos by Tinubu

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The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council has described as false, a statement making the rounds on social media that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the party’s presidential candidate, harbours plans to relocate the Federal Capital from Abuja to Lagos on succeeding President Muhammad Buhari.

It said Tinubu never contemplated such plans and would never do so as it goes contrary to the country’s constitution.

This was disclosed on Tuesday in a statement issued and signed by Bayo Onanuga, the Director, Media and Publicity APC Presidential Campaign Council.

The statement pointed fingers at the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Labour Party, for Championing the misinformation campaign against its candidate, saying some field reports had proved so.

Part of the statement read: “The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council hereby alerts Nigerians about the latest insidious campaign in some parts of the country against our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“In one of the falsehoods being circulated, especially in the North West of the country, Tinubu is said to harbour plans to relocate the Federal Capital from Abuja to Lagos on succeeding President Muhammad Buhari from 29th May, 2023.

“This misinformation campaign, according to field reports, is being given some traction by some elders on the payroll of the Peoples Democratic Party.

“Let us say with emphasis, that Asiwaju does not contemplate any such plan and will not do anything that is so ultra-unconstitutional.”

It further lamented that some purveyors of fake news had also distorted facts about the recent commercialization of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.

It clarified that President Buhari had instead made it a commercial entity in line with the Petroleum Industry Act.

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Fuel scarcity: Remove subsidy, heavens won’t fall – Former NNPC GM tells FG.

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The former General Manager of Corporate Planning and Business Development at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Babajide Soyode, has urged the Federal Government to halt the fuel subsidy payment regime to end the persistent scarcity of the product.

Soyode made this disclosure on Tuesday in an AriveTV interview monitored by us.

He decried the outrageous cost of diesel in Nigeria compared with the price in neighboring countries such as Ghana.

According to him, Nigerians are paying the highest cost of diesel in Africa.

“We spend subsidies to maintain the elite of this country; that is all we are doing. Even the elites no longer get it, but some people are taking it to squander in Dubai. I am saying, remove subsidy today heavens will not come down.

“All these things they are talking about are not true; diesel in Ghana is N549; do they have subsidies for diesel? Why are they paying N549, and we are paying N786? We are importing the product from the same market. I am not blaming IPMAN or NNPC if the government has screwed up the market by maintaining subsidies. You can quote me; the fuel scarcity situation will continue after December”, he stated.

Nigerians continue to grapple with the attendant implications as fuel queues resurfaced in Abuja, Lagos, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and other major cities.

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