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Abuja cops seen fuelling black market oil trade

22 May 2015, 17:12

Abuja - Illegal fuel vendors in Abuja have defied police orders against the unlawful trade in the commodity, with police alleged to be complicit.

Some of the hawkers, a number of them who are said to have abandoned their artisan work to engage in the illegal yet lucrative trade, alleged police were not ineffective in enforcing the order.

A survey by CAJ News on Friday established the unlawful traders, also known as black marketers, were scattered in the streets close to major gas stations in the capital city.

At Oando filling station in Gudu area, one of the hawkers, Usman Mohammed, who hails from Katsina State, said the police were ineffective.

“They just collected only 50 litres from us and left,” he said.

Mohammed added that they get the product from Niger State at the rate of N135 per litre and sell at a rate of N200 per litre.

Another hawker near the AP filling station in Maitama area, Abdullahi Gambo from Sokoto, said the police were complicit.

“They will only trouble us if we refuse to settle them. They chase us away when we don’t settle. We settle, no problem,” Gambo said.

Comment could not be obtained from police.

Recently, Abuja Commissioner of Police, Wilson Inalegwu, warned against street hawking of petrol in the city.

The Commissioner ordered the re-enforcement of the ban and warned those involved would face the full wrath of the law.

The warning seems not have been deterrent enough.

Also read: NNPC resumes oil search in Chad Basin

The emergence of the black market for fuel comes amid weeks of shortages of the commodity in a country that ironically is the biggest producer of crude oil.

Main cities are facing acute shortages as importers feel the pinch of a plummeting local currency, tighter credit lines and unpaid government subsidies.

This has given the rise to the black market or official retailers overcharging.

A poll conducted in March established 90 percent of Nigerians who buy petrol purchase at a price above the official rate of N87, with the current average price of petrol per litre across Nigeria being N114

On Thursday, the Senate has directed its Committee on Up and Down Stream to probe the persistent problems in the sector.

- CAJ News


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