By Ejike Ikezuagu.
The Imo state citizens have cried over the recent scarcity of fuel in the state. According to the reports, most of the petrol stations in the state are either closed, or with a sign “No fuel” placed at the entrance of the filling station. And some of these filling stations that managed to open their stations are selling at the rate of N270 per litre, while the “black market sellers” sell at N500 per litre.
In a report gathered in Owerri, Ogene Ndigbo Newspaper learnt that the scarcity is higher now in Imo state, because trucks are no more bringing fuel in the state, stating that trucks from the Southeast are not allowed to load at various depots in Nigeria due to its belligerent stance, until 14th September 2021, the reports stated.
The Association of Imo State Petroleum Marketers (AIPM) have called the Imo state government to quickly resolve the issue with the leadership of Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD).
It was learnt that PTD had issue with the governor of the state, Chief Hope Uzodimma over non-payment of its member, the owner of Sunez patrol station in Orlu whose filling station was demolished under the administration of Chief Rochas Okorocha in 2014 during the dualization of roads in Orlu metropolis.
The owner of the patrol station did not receive any compensation from the government for demolishing the filling station. He approached the court and secured judgement against Imo state government in March 2021 which awarded N100 million to the plaintiff as damages for the past 8 years.
Sunez, a member of Petroleum Tanker Driver (PTD) reported the issue to the organisation when the government had refused to pay him. The organisation approached the government with a deadline that if the compensation is not paid before the deadline, PTD will embark on strike.
It was gathered that the government ignored the notice which resulted to the PTD’s strike that left over 500 trucks loaded with highly inflammable products parked at the state boundaries few weeks ago.
In the same development, considering the risks involved in allowing highly inflammable products on the roads, the Association of Imo State Petroleum Marketers (AIPM) approached the government to find a lasting solution to the lingering problem that has also kept their tanks dry, with pilling interests and revenue loss.
In a statement released to Ogene Ndigbo Newspaper by the marketers, it said, “Imo state government is not shifting grounds, instead the governor has been issuing one threat and another, saying he will seal stations selling above pumps, but forgot that fuel is not anywhere in Imo state”.
It further stated that, the marketers will not compel the tanker drivers who have very strong union to call off their strike.
The fuel scarcity in the state started over three weeks ago when the Association of Imo State Petroleum Marketers (AIPM) embarked on a strike to express their displeasure over the treatment melted on them by the government through its agencies. It was learnt that government imposed N1.6 million per station as against N100, 000 that was agreed for the state revenue.
At this backdrop the marketers decided to go on a warning strike that lasted for two days, because of the sufferings and cries of the people of the state. The government pleaded to be given two weeks within which to come up with something only for the governor to ask Imo citizens to buy fuel from neighbouring states while negotiating was still ongoing, this is sad, the marketer said.
The strike was suspended because the government asked for two weeks but went behind to secure experte order from high court joint Marketers and Sunez less than 24 hours after the strike was suspended.
“The fact is that nothing has been achieved since the Marketers suspended the warning strike, we are still in court”, he said.
The Imo state government and Association of Imo State Petroleum Marketers (AIPM) were in court on 3rd, 8th, and 10th, this September 2021. However, the case was adjourned till 6th October 2021.
Nevertheless, Imo state government is seeking injunction to stop Marketers from embarking on strike.
In another development, Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) are on strike in solidarity with their member whose station was demolished in 2014 in Orlu.
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