Socio-economic activities have been totally grounded in the oil-rich State of Akwa Ibom following the drastic cut in fuel supply in the country in the last couple of days.
Currently, the product sell for between N400 and N500 per litre only at the black markets as filling station owners chose to sell the products to parallel market operators at night for big profits.
Except for some few stations along Abak Road, Atiku Abubakar and Nwanibba, other stations remain shut with the inscription: “no fuel”.
But at night, according to Otobong Ekanem, a tricycle operator, “they would open from 10:00 PM to sell at a black market rate to willing buyers”.
Industry regulators including the Special Adviser to Governor Udom Emmanuel, on Petroleum Matters, Obong Essien Esema and the Coordinator of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for Akwa Ibom and Cross River, Mr. Asuquo Antai, have repeatedly calm frayed nerves that the crisis would soon be over, but it keeps biting harder every day. Yesterday, long stretches of commuters were seen trekking to their work places, while few vehicles and tricycles plying the roads have jerked up the fares to beyond the reach of the common people.
“In those days, crisis of this sort could degenerate to civil disobedience but in democracy it is hard to come by”, laments a lecturer in one of the institutions in the State, who would not want his name in print.
He recalled that “in Sudan, during the era of Jaffar Nimieri as President, only the increase in the prices of staple foods including bread and sugar ingnited internal insurrection that combined to push him out of power”.
Urging President Mohammadu Buhari, to urgently intervene with a view to resolving the oil sector crisis, the teacher enjoined Nigerians to “be patient with the system to get its bearings right”.
Checks by our Correspondent revealed that most car owners have parked their vehicles, while lots of them have also been abandoned at various filling Stations across the State, with the hope of possible return of normalcy.
The crisis has also taken its toll on business as farmers lamented their inability to shift their products from the hinterlands to the big metropolitan markets in the urban centres of Uyo, Eket, Abak, Ikot Ekpene, Ikot Abasi and Uruan.
-Iniobong Ekponta, Uyo