Motorists and commuters in Onitsha and its environs on Tuesday expressed dismay over the stoppage of operations by petroleum marketers in Anambra, saying it had caused them suffering.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that many filling stations were shut as early as 7 a.m. in compliance with a directive by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in the South-east.
Some of the filling stations visited include Total and Oando along New Market road, J.I. Ejison and NNPC Mega station along Awka road and Seaman by Borromew roundabout, Onitsha.
The development affected transportation fare as passengers who usually pay N100 from Main Market, Onitsha, to Nkpor paid N200 while the fare from Onitsha to Nnewi increased from N200 to N400.
Chukwuebuka Odo, a driver, said the fuel he was still using was the one he purchased on Monday.
“We didn’t get information about their intention to close operations.
“Once the fuel I have in my vehicles gets exhausted, I will have to resort to ‘black market’ and increase my price,” Mr Odo said.
A civil servant, Joy Udeakpe, said the development came to her as a shock as she was unprepared for the hike in the transportation price.
“I have been standing here for the past one hour now and they keep telling me N500 to Awka from Onitsha which I used to pay N300,” she said.
Also speaking, a trader, Uche Okafor, said “those closing filling stations at every slightest provocation are wicked.”
“Their leaders should be patriotic and consider the plights of many Nigerians before closing filling stations or embarking on a strike,” he said, urging the state government to intervene.
NAN came across a text message which was circulated notifying the public on the intended closure and the need not to panic.
The text message read: “Good evening. Anambrarians should not panic over the closure of filling stations tomorrow morning as there is a leadership crisis in Enugu IPMAN.”
Cletus Obi-Okafor, the Chairman of Petrol Dealers Association of Nigeria (PEDAN) in the state, confirmed the shutdown, saying the action complied with the order of national leadership of IPMAN.
Mr Obi-Okafor said the total shutdown would persist until there was counter-directive to members.
“We were directed to close our outlets over a crisis at our Enugu Depot office, the compliance will be total until we get further directive,” he said.