A litre of fuel is now sold between N280 and N300 in Awka, the Anambra State Capital.
The development, residents say, has made them apprehensive, wondering what the cost of living will be in the year 2023.
This is because the cost of transportation, food items, building materials, and other essential commodities has been hitting the roof without any regulation or control by the authorities.
Radio Nigeria correspondent, Uche Ndeke, reports that some of the people traveling for the festivities spent between five and six hours on queues on Saturday at the NNPC filling station in Awka before they were eventually told the commodity was not available.
Speaking with Radio Nigeria, some of the motorists said they came out to queue up at the NNPC filling station as early as 05:30AM last Saturday, in the hope that they would dispense fuel and considering that it was just a day to the New Year celebrations.
As they waited, the lines kept extending as people hoped to buy fuel at no higher than N180 per litre as against the N300 at which most other stations were selling the commodity.
But that was not to be. After nearly six hours on the queue, the people were informed that the fuel they had all waited so long for was not available.
One angry customer said a few hours after the crowd had dispersed in disappointment, the stations began to sell.
Our correspondent also drove through the same NNPC stations in the area only to find out that the supposedly non-available product was actually being dispensed to just three vehicles by the same station.
When approached, the supervisor claimed that there was no fuel and that what was being dispensed to those vehicles was “reserve” petrol.
Also an ugly scene played out at one petrol station before the Anambra State Fire Service office in Awka when some angry commuters got wind that the said station was dispensing at N220 per litre. They all rushed to the place, causing a massive commotion where an existing queue was almost stretched at the Government House axis of the Enugu-Onitsha highway.
The station manager, who was dispensing alone because his pump attendants had traveled for the yuletide, issued numbers to some vehicles on the queue, claiming that he could not possibly attend to every single person on the line.
Cost of goods and services
The cost of goods, transportation and other services keeps skyrocketing by the day, with their providers complaining that things may become worse rather than better this New Year if government does not take urgent measures to address the situation .
Speaking with Radio Nigeria, a resident of Awka, Paul Okolo, said it was regrettable that the hike has continued to take its toll on business, with prices of goods and services increasing without control.
Another resident, Ifunanya Ene, recounted her own daily ordeal, complaining that the situation has affected her expenditure as transportation fare increases per drop.
Travelers may be stranded
A Public Affairs Analyst, Comrade Obi Ochije, described the present situation as “shameful” for a country like Nigeria to be battling with scarcity of a product “they have in abundance”.
Comrade Ochije said if nothing was done urgently by the federal government, a majority of those who traveled home for the yuletide and New Year celebrations may be stranded due to high cost of transportation.
Another consumer, Chinyere Osita, appealed to the federal government to fix the nation’s refineries instead of allowing its citizens to “languish in pains every now and then”.
The respondents said it was “regrettable” that in the face of the aforesaid challenges, the government was not making any pronouncement, explanations or taking drastic steps to address the problem, which they fear would negatively impact their lives this new year.
Reporting by Uche Ndeke; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino and Tony Okerafor