Maiduguri has reportedly been off the national grid for over two months as a result of some power stations and transmission lines outside the city being bombed down by Boko Haram terrorist. Channels Television reported that when repairs commenced, the insurgents laid land mines which injured officials of the Transmission Company of Nigeria. While repairs have progressed under heavy military escort, residents and business owners now have to rely on their power generating sets (like generator) for electricity.
It was also reported that there iss been an increase in the price after it was reported last week that the price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) may go up. It was also alleged that fuel marketers in the city have resorted to hoarding petroleum products, triggering price inflation.
A black marketer, Mohammed Abdulrahman told Channels Television that a litre of fuel was N200 when fuel was available, but when it became very scarce fuel was sold for N450 to N500 per litre.
According to his words;
But to be honest when the product is scarce, that is when we make more profit. But when the fuel was available sometimes we will be here the whole day and maybe only five or six cars would stop to buy from us.”
A business owner, named Abdulmumini Bello on the other hand stated that every blessed day he spend nothing less than N5,000 on fuel and now there is no power everything is now very expensive. The government should consider and help us out of this difficulty. We are facing the problem of power outage and petrol, and there is poverty.”
A motorist, Maikudi Kwajaffa also accused filling stations of perfecting the art of deception. According to his words;
“If you go to the filling station you will see the display on their dashboard saying N162 but actually if you say you want to buy N2,000 fuel, they will just carry their calculator and begin to calculate. If you go to another place they will say it is N190 or N180. I don’t know if they are waiting for the government to increase the price, but hoarding the fuel makes it so scarce and you know in Maiduguri it’s about two months now we don’t have light so most people want to take in jerrycan or gallon.”
DPR Comptroller, Abubakar Ciroma who admitted that the agency is battling marketers over pricing, added that there are no fuel queues in Maiduguri. He also blamed the long distance between Maiduguri and major petrol hubs such as Lagos and Port Harcourt for the shortfall in supply that has spooked the marketers.
According to his words;
“Also the insecurity challenges along the road. You know we have had so many cases of blockage on the road and so on. Some of the vehicles break down because they are old and they are coming all the way from Lagos with the bad roads here and there.”
Abubakar Ciroma also disclosed that the NNPC depot in the city which has a storage capacity of at least 20 million litres, has been non-functional for over 15 years, making it impossible to stockpile products for the rainy day.