Eket - Prices of petroleum products have gone up in Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom, as residents complain of hardship experienced in buying the products at increased prices.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that most of the fuel stations in Eket and environs now sell petrol between N130 and N150 per litre, as against the official pump price of N97 per litre.
Kerosene now sells for N140 per litre, instead of the government approved price of N50 per litre, while diesel was not available in all the filling stations visited by NAN on Saturday.
Reacting to the situation, Moses Nda, a taxi driver, said that the increase in fuel prices had resulted in the increase in transport fares in the area.
Nda, however, attributed the development to the strike embarked upon by the Tanker Drivers’ Association in the state.
Besides, Beatrice Effiong, a petty trader in Eket, said that she went to many fuel stations in search of kerosene before she could get somewhere to buy it at N140 per litre.
Effiong said that the situation had increased the hardship experienced by residents in the area in efforts to cope with daily living.
She called for the government’s intervention by forcing petroleum products’ dealers to revert to the products’ normal prices or face sanction.
When contacted, Francis Umoeka, the Unit Controller of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Eket, said that the increase in petroleum products’ prices was quite unfortunate.
He, however, conceded that the products’ scarcity was only in Akwa Ibom.
Umoeka said that negotiations were on for the resolution of the issues leading to the strike but regretted that the agency was not involved in the negotiations.
“It is very unfortunate and painful that DPR is not carried along in the negotiations for the return of normalcy to the supply of petroleum products in the state,” he said.
He, however, expressed the hope that the strike by the tanker drivers would soon be called off.