Some oil marketers in Ekiti State have bowed to an order given by the state governor, Ayodele Fayose on Wednesday that petrol dealers must start selling fuel to Ekiti people within 24 hours or risk revocation of their licenses.
Trouble started when fuel dealers in the state, in adherence to directives from their national body, stopped selling fuel to Ekiti residents on Monday, May 22.
It threw the state into great confusion as economic and other sundry activities requiring fuel supply were crippled.
It was gathered that Fayose’s resolve to deploy legal means to sanitise the alleged illegal dealings and siting of petrol stations in business and residential areas, made the national body to order the marketers to stop selling fuel to the people.
Angered by the pain the fuel crisis was inflicting on the people and their businesses, enraged youths, drivers, artisans and others went to the streets on Wednesday to protest what they described as political witch-hunt of governor Fayose.
The angry youths had attacked some petrol stations, vandalised their facilities and issued 24 hour ultimatum to them to start selling.
Checks showed that some filling stations have started selling.
Elder Adeyemi Adebayo, Chairman, Petroleum Task Force, Ekiti State, who was mandated to inspect the stations to see the level of compliance to the governor’s directive, confirmed the findings.
Blaming the sad development on the national body of the oil marketers, Adebayo said: “About four of the filling stations have started selling fuel.
“They are Consistent Trust on Poly Road, July Seven also on Poly Road, and Five Folds at GRA along Afao Road and KBF also in Ado-Ekiti.
“The owners of these stations have heeded to the governor’s advice to start selling fuel immediately, saying that they have realized that they cannot confront government.
“The other marketers said that they would have also started selling but they couldn’t because they don’t have fuel in their reservoir. They said that the tanker drivers’ union are not allowing their fuel to come into the state, and that those drivers are diverting the petrol trailers to neighbouring states.
“When I spoke to the chairman of the tanker drivers in Ekiti, he explained that the directive to prevent petroleum tankers from coming to the state was from the national body of the oil marketers. He added that his team in Abuja were having meeting with the oil marketers concerning the development.
“My advice to the oil marketers is to heed to the directive given by the governor and start to sell the fuel, because the governor is the overall head in Ekiti. He takes the final decision on any issues about the state and his decision overrides any one outside the state.
“I also want to advise the national body of oil marketers in Nigeria who have been said to be the brain behind the fuel crisis in Ekiti, to urgently release all the petrol tankers which they withdrew, so that they don’t make the people of Ekiti to suffer.
“The genesis of this crisis was the aftermath of a petrol station, Strive Energy in Ejigbo area of the state which caught fire and bought property and goods worth millions of Naira.
“Many shops owners and some landlords whose property were affected had cried to state government to assist them get compensation from the owner of Strive Energy who at first was evading them.
“The incident led to many unhealthy under-dealings that were exposed. The government discovered that the petrol station in particular and many others in the state do not have insurance to cover damages incurred by such fire incidents. These petrol stations too, were also found to have been built in residential and business areas, meaning that they have violated some environmental laws.
“When the government mandated the owner of Strive Energy to compensate the victims of the inferno in his filling station, he gave them paltry sums of money such as N10,000 and N5000 to people who lost millions of Naira.
“That ill-treatment drew the ire of the government who took the owner of that filling station to court. Also, the government has instructed that filling stations in business and residential areas should be relocated but many of the owners have refused to do this.
“This is what the government wants to change and bring sanity into the system. But the oil marketers don’t want this to happen, so they reported to their national body who mandated them to stop selling fuel so that they can force the state government to rescind on its decision to sanitize the bad system,” he said.