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Editorial: Rivers State And Endless Fuel Scarcity, Irony Of Life

Rivers people and indeed residents of the State have watched helplessly or even haplessly the infinite artificial fuel scarcity, occasioned by the purported shortfall in supply at the petroleum highway ,managed by the alleged ‘ cabal’, controlled and financed by the almighty Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC with little or no hope of ending. It is often said that the first step towards curing any disease or ailment is to find out what the cause of such ailment is. In the case of fuel scarcity in Rivers State or Nigeria at large, finding the cause of fuel scarcity has beaten all known principles.
Fuel scarcity in Rivers State is more disturbing in that the State houses two of the country’s largest refineries and as such, is a major supplier of petroleum products to the entire nation and beyond. Under normal circumstances, such State should not experience scarcity of a product it is supposed to be distributing to others. Several groups and even government agencies have tried without success to unravel the mystery behind the fuel scarcity experienced in Rivers State. What is even more worrisome is that the shylock petroleum marketers have capitalized on the fluke scarcity to rip off the residents of the State by hiking prices of petroleum products to the detriment of the people.
By the last count, a litre of fuel was sold at #200 and worse still, the product was not found at filling stations during the day, but only appears at night. A situation where vehicles would be seen lined up in every operational filling station, only for black marketers to be freely hawking the products around the same filling station, in defiance of the State Government’s ban on sale of fuel in jerry cans.
The question now is, are these people above the law? How does fuel appear in the filling stations only at nights when motorists had waited in vain for the product during the day? How many operators of filling stations have been apprehended for sabotaging the efforts of government in making available petroleum products to its citizenry? Among several other questions.
We have almost been tempted to believe that some government officials are involved in this fuel syndicate, which has made it difficult or even impossible to bring this-man-inhumanity- to-man fuel racket to a halt. After all government has the capacity to deal with any situation that comes its way and if not such government should seize to exist. If government should suddenly become helpless in a minor problem confronting its citizens like artificial fuel scarcity, what hope does the people have and what is the essence of having a government in the first place.
After all government came to being when the people decided to surrender their rights to few people (government) with the understanding that come sun or rain that government will protect them. It therefore goes that any day the government fails on its responsibility of protecting the people, the mandate will be withdrawn from them. What else can we call failure, when Rivers People have been groaning under the crutches of the so-called fuel scarcity and the government does not seem to have solution to the mess.
Maybe we suggest that the mandate be reviewed or better still be withdrawn. It is very ironical that the Treasure Base of the Nation and a key player in the oil and gas business could be suffering from fuel scarcity no matter the guise it is touted.

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