Gas stations in Ondo State have begun hoarding the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol thereby causing the scarcity of fuel to bite harder, Sahara Reporters can authoritatively report.
The scarcity of the product have continued to take its tolls on the state as there are fewer vehicles plying the major roads of the popular Oba Adesida and Oyemekun in the capital city of Akure.
The fuel scarcity is now biting harder as motorists in the state are now battling with more longer queues in the few gas stations selling the product that were visited on Friday.
Our correspondent monitoring the situation reported that some gas stations now preferred to sell the product at night amidst its heavy demand by consumers in the state.
Underground investigations revealed that these gas stations sells at night to deliberately hike their price against the Federal government approved pump price of N145 per litre.
Many motorists in the state who are buying the products have also decried the hike in the price as they are alleging some local gas stations of selling at a ridiculous price of N170 and N200 per litres.
The motorists are also lamenting the hardship in getting the scarce fuel into the their vehicles as the action has affected their day-to-day transportation business across the popular towns in the state.
Despite this, longer queues in some filling stations have not ceased as consumers in the state still resulted in panic buying amidst the widespread of information about the scarcity of the product.
Some observers in the state have also attributed the panic buy among these consumers to the upcoming Christmas and yuletide seasons.
The commercial vehicles owners popularly called “taxi driver” in state are also lamenting over the hardship with a threat to increase transport fare on the major routes if the scarcity goes unabated.
One of them, Mr. Abiodun Adeogun, who transports passengers through the popular Oba Adesida road en-route Oyemekun, Sijuwade and Ijoka areas said that the fuel scarcity is causing them untold hardship.
Mr. Adeogun who narrated how he has been sleeping in the gas stations to get the product into his vehicle at all cost also lamented the lackadaisical attitude of some gas managers who are now hoarding the product.
“Many of these gas stations have the product mostly here in Akure but they are refusing to sell because they want to make double money and put the common-man into further hardship."
“Imagine, since Sunday I have been a regular night visitor at some gas stations just to get fuel into my vehicle because that is where I see money to feed my family."
“When you visit these gas stations during the day, they will tell you there is no fuel and shut their gate at motorists and consumers but at night, you would see them selling fuel especially at the midnight."
“I think the problem is not always about the government but the managers of the gas stations who are using the opportunities to make big money as the festivities are approaching," he said.
Also, multiple sources have confirmed to our correspondent how the staffs of the erring gas stations are colliding with touts to tax motorists in the state before they could access their premises for the product.
One of the sources revealed how the gas stations are now selling into some rubber cans for the touts and re-sell back in the black market to the motorists during the night.
“In fact, the gas station on Idanre Road are making use of touts to collect money from us before we even get access into the station to get fuel."
“Others would sell into rubber cans for the touts during the day and at night you will see them hawking the petrol to sell for motorists at N200 per litre."
“I am sad in the situation we have found ourselves in this country and this is very bad and I am calling the attention of the Ondo State government this act fast on this,” he said.
Shina Amao, the Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) at Ore branch had blamed scarcity of the product in Ondo State on the shortage in supply by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Mr. Amao stated that the Private Depot Owners have since resulted in selling the product (fuel) beyond the official pump price since it is now difficult in getting the product.
Meanwhile, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in the state capital have began a clampdown on some local gas stations that are hoarding the product from consumers.
A monitoring team sets up by the Petroleum Resources have started moving around the nooks of the state to apply sanctions on the defiant stations who have the product but hoarding it against motorists.
Emmanuel Adewole, the acting Operation Manager of DPR in the state who led the team of task force had on Wednesday shut down a gas station along the Isolo Street in the capital city of Akure.
Mr. Adewole said the gas station identified as Funky Mass Nigeria Ltd, was purposely closed down for hoarding fuel from customers despite having the product in its stock.
He noted that the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had earlier warned the operators of gas stations in the state to stop the habits of hoarding fuel from consumers.
“I am sure that would serve as a penalty [lesson] for others who are hoarding the product and shutting their gates against the motorists in the state,” he said.