The fuel scarcity being experienced in the Country and Taraba in particular these days leaves much to be desired.
It is however, misleading to analyze the crisis in Jalingo in the context of the national fuel scarcity.
This is so because, since the scarcity that hit the nation at the tail of 2015 abated, Jalingo the Taraba state capital has not fully recovered despite the availability of the product in neighbouring states. Now that another round of scarcity has set in, it was only natural for the city to respond to the trend which is quite artificial anyway.
Sometime ago, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, (NSCDC), in a sting operation,arrested a couple of marketers who connived with some independent marketers to hoard the product, which was responsible for the high price of the product in Jalingo.
Currently, the average price of the product in Jalingo is N1000 per Gallon. By implication, a litre goes for N250 as against the official price of N86.50 per litre.
The major independent petrol dealers in Jalingo are; A.A Rano situated at the Michelin roundabout, Sintali filling station and Uche Obi.
These are the market leaders in the city, who control supply considerably.The lack of product in those stations translates to a city wide shortage.
Investigations by our reporter has it that, Sintali filling Station had been closed down by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for shady practices which resulted to scarcity of the product in the recent past.
According to a source who pleaded anonymity, those marketers make the product available to motorists and in a moment, they claim the product is finished, only to go round at night to sell to black marketers at the rate of N110 and N130 per litre in order to gain excess profit.
It is no wonder therefore, that the product becomes scarce with only the NNPC mega station selling the product at regulated price.
Secondly, while the product becomes unavailable in some independent service stations in the city, they are available in black marketing points spread all over the city.
This suggests the presence of connivance between the two parties mentioned. It also signifies the greed of independent marketers who capitalize on the nationwide scarcity to satisfy their appetite.
The presence of government task force on petroleum distribution, the DPR and security agents do not deter such dealers from carrying out their dastardly acts.
The motorists are only left at the mercy of the NNPC mega station who sell at the regulated price, and the black marketers who sell at cutthroat prices, and who shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
Meanwhile, as the fuel scarcity bites harder in Jalingo city, car owners have resorted to boarding commercial tricycles, popularly known as keke Napep, instead of using their cars; a situation that is responsible for the relatively low vehicular traffic on the major roads in the city.
However, going by the trend, it is unlikely that the scarcity would end soon, unless a serious effort is made at checking the excesses of the independent marketers and breaking those cartels that make life unbearable for citizens.
Efforts to reach the NSCDC state commandant for his comment on the matter proved abortive, while the DPR does not have its presence in Jalingo, except in Yola which is out of reach of this reporter in the meantime.