By Naomi Okoh, Margaret Oraza and Victor Joel
Owing to the rising cost of fuel and scarcity in Makurdi, commercial motorists have increased transport fare.
With the rise in pump price from N162 per litre to about N167-N170 in the country, Makurdi the Benue state capital has witnessed long queues in petrol stations.
The Voice investigations revealed that a litre of fuel is being sold between N170 and N200 per litre. It was gathered that black marketers are selling a litre of fuel for between N200 and N300 .
According to a pump attendant who pleaded anonymity at Fesylkan oil Ltd., located along Otukpo road, Makurdi, “on 28 February, 2021 we sold petrol for N170 but today, the 1 March, we are selling for N195.”
At Adam Tony Oil, a litre of fuel was selling for N170, according to one of the staff who craved anonymity.
“We have not been selling for sometime now, so some of our customers are not aware that we are open or selling for N170. We did not change our pump price,” he said.
Meanwhile, a commercial motorist, who simply gave his name as Mr Paul and operates bus town service, said they have increased transport fare because the price of fuel has gone up, even as petrol is scarce.
“Before now, we carry persengers from Makurdi to Aliade for N500 and from Makurdi to Otukpo N1000. It is now actually the old price and we are adding it because of the current increase in oil price,” he stated.
Another commercial bus driver, Mr Godwin who plies Makurdi – Enugu route, told our correspondent that he is increasing the price to N3,500.
The Voice gathered that the situation isn’t much different in the various local governments of the state.
According to Mfena who is a pump attendant at Why Worry filling station, Mfena, a fuel attendant told The Voice that the fuel scarcity leading to N180 per litre has resulted to low patronage as many motorists and okada riders could not afford the price thereby reducing the queue in the filling station. He said the increase in the pump price has affected the market quick turnover due to low patronage.
In the same vein, Tyolumun Tsegba of Buruku Local Government revealed that Msugh Tule oil, Golden Emma oil and AB 10 were also selling at N180, however, the prices of fuel at Minetor and Emmale, all at Zaki Biam in Ukum local government stood at N155 per litre.
The increase in the pump price has affectesmd travellers and farmers in conveying their goods to the market because a bag of rice which was transported for N500 from Waya to Jato-Aka market has increased to N1000 per bag.
According to Joseph Agber, a traveller who lamented over the increase in fuel prhce and scarcity of fuel, travelling from one place to another is now difficult. He appealed to both the federal and state government to regulate the price.