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FUEL SCARCITY HITS OWERRI AS PETROLEUM MARKETERS GO ON STRIKE

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All the Filling Stations operating in Owerri, shut down their businesses on Wednesday to protest the refusal of payment of compensation to one of their members whose filling station was damaged by former Governor Rochas Okorocha’s administration.

 Wazobiatrends gathered in Owerri, that their action was based on a court judgment they obtained that the state government should pay compensation to their member. But the state government said it has appealed against the judgement.

However, Vanguard went round the Owerri metropolis, and it was observed that a litre of fuel sold between N400 to N450.

The areas visited include: Port Harcourt and Aba road, which saw all the filling stations closed down. The situation was not different along Okigwe, Amakohia, Akwakuma, Egbu and Nekede-Ihiagwa roads as well as Onitsha road.

Residents of Imo State have appealed to the state government and petroleum dealers to resolve their differences to end the industrial action embarked on Wednesday by petroleum marketers in the area.

Radio Nigeria correspondent who monitored the situation in Owerri the state capital observed that the shutting down of fuel stations across the state had brought more hardship to the residents as transportation fare increased up to one hundred percent.

On Monday, August 23, 2021, rumour about plans by petroleum marketers in Imo State to commence industrial action filtered into the air, while some went into panic buying of premium motor spirit (petrol), many did not pay attention to it, especially when the strike did not commence on Tuesday as speculated. However residents woke up on Wednesday to see that fuel stations across the state were closed for business as barricades were used to prevent access to the premises.

A commercial vehicle operator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he ran out of petrol while on transit but had to buy the product in the black market at the cost of five hundred naira per litre to enable him get to his destination.

Another resident, Mr. Chidiebube Okeoma, lamented the hardship occasioned by the strike and called on the parties involved to resolve the impasse in the interest of the masses.

In an interview, the Vice Chairman of petroleum marketers in the State, Mr. Chimodo Martin, said the strike was as a result of multiple taxation, harassment and intimidation of his members by government officials as well as arbitrary imposition of levies on his members.

He explained that petrol tanker drivers in the state had withdrawn their services since last one week abandoning their products on the bordering towns with the state to protest the alleged non compliance with a high court judgment, which directed the state government to pay compensation to their member whose fuel station was demolished by the past administration in the state.

The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Declan Emelumba, who had earlier accused the petroleum marketers of resorting to self help, said the government would meet with the striking petroleum dealers on Thursday to find ways of resolving the crisis.

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