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As Fuel Scarcity Persists, Nigerians Get Desperate

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As fuel scarcity persists and the crisis in the power sector lingers coupled with limited liquidity in circulation, Nigerians have adopted desperate measures to cope with the tough times.

Most of those who spoke to THE WHISTLER said they have had to cut down on some basics as well embarked on austere measures to weather through the difficult economic climate.

Across the length and breadth of the country, it is tales of woe and measures bordering on desperation people are taken to.

Two incidents that illustrate that things may give if nothing is urgently done happened in Nigeria’s two most important capitals – the political capital of Abuja, and the economic hub, Lagos.

In Lagos, a middle-aged man stripped himself naked in the full glare of people scrambling to buy fuel. Despite entreaties by security agent deployed to the filling station to keep the peace and crowd control, the unidentified Nigerian refused to budge compelling the fuel attendants to sell to the naked fellow in jerry can which is against the law.

Also, in Abuja, it was a scary sight as people waiting to get fuel at one of the NNPC filling station in Wuse 2 last Friday as a man with jerry can threatened to set the station on fire if he was not sold fuel to.

According to him, his wife put to bed and for two days they have been without light with the new born crying incessantly probably because of the heat. Fearful of the worst, the man was attended to.

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Speaking to THE WHISTLER, Mallam Ado Isah, who lives in Nyanya, a suburb of the Abuja, said the fuel scarcity and very poor power situation was frustrating and has compounded the challenging circumstances.

“Things are tough I can tell you. Transportation has gone triple fold. When you complain the drivers tell you if you have a filling station they can buy at the official rate and in good time you should direct them. Imagine, I used to pay N100 to Area 1 now it is N200. How do I cope with that? Then there is no light. One is forced to sleep under so much heat and in the morning you feel weak all over.

“President Buhari must show why we voted for him and his party. These days I wake up very early and try to trek some distance just to cut down on the fare. I also ensure to get okpa moi moi because it is very filling to serve as brunch and lunch. This is just survival,” Isah said.

The case for Ms. Evelyn Omale is not too different. Omale a clerical officer with one of the ministries at the Federal Secretariat who resides in Lugbe, about 8 kilometres from the city center said her condition is “excruciating.”

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“This is a very unfortunate situation. My transportation has tripled, light bill has grown manifold, food items are unbelievably high, yet there is no response from government.

“To survive I take my food along which is a combination of my breakfast and lunch. I also take water, though it gets warm by afternoon.”

She appealed to the government to address the twin issues of fuel scarcity and poor power supply and the associated high cost.

Mr. Ade Ojo, a taxi cab bemoaned the long hours at the fuel stations to get petrol at the regulated price.

“I won’t deceive you, we are suffering. I have been on this queue since 6am and this almost 9:30am I’m yet to go half the line,” he told our correspondent at Forte oil filling station opposite the Abuja Transcorp Hotel.

“I have managed to put net on the windows and doors so we can at least not die of heat. But we take turns in our area to do watch night. That is how we survive.”

Findings by this medium show that social vices like prostitution, burglary, and pick pocketing are on the increase.