Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, has been off the national grid for two months after Boko Haram insurgents bombed some power stations and transmission lines outside the city, according to SaharaReporters.
It was gathered that when repairs commenced, the insurgents laid land mines that injured officials of the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
This informed the presence of heavy military escort as repairs progressed. Residents and business owners now have to rely on their power generating sets for electricity.
SaharaReporters recall that last Friday, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, in a new monthly template, said the price of Premium Motor Spirit had increased to N212.6 per litre.
Following reactions to the development, the PPPRA had in a new press release on its website clarified that its publication of monthly template, did not amount to increasing the price of petroleum products, as it does not fix the price of petrol.
However, there are allegations that fuel marketers in Maiduguri have resorted to hoarding petroleum products, triggering price inflation.
A black marketer, Mohammed Abdulrahman told Channels Television: “A litre was N200 when fuel was available, but when it became very scarce fuel was sold for N450 to N500.
“But to be honest when the product is scarce, that’s when we make more profit. But when the fuel is available, sometimes you’ll be here the whole day and maybe only five or six cars will stop to buy from you.”
A business owner, Abdulmumini Bello, on the other hand, said: “Every blessed day, you spend N5,000 on fuel and there is no power so everything is now expensive.
“The government should consider and help us out of this difficulty. We are facing the problem of power outage and petrol scarcity, and there is poverty.”
A motorist, Maikudi Kwajaffa, also accused filling stations of perfecting the art of deception. He said: “If you go to the filling stations, you’ll see the display on their dashboard saying N162 but actually if you say you want to buy N2,000 fuel, they’ll just carry their calculator and begin to calculate.
“If you go to another place, they’ll say it’s N190 or N180. I don’t know if they are waiting for the government to increase the price, but hoarding the fuel makes it so scarce and you know in Maiduguri it’s about two months now we have not had electricity so most people want to take in jerrycans or gallons.”
The DPR, Zonal Operations Controller, North East, Abubakar Ciroma admitted that the agency was battling marketers overpricing, stating that there were no fuel queues in Maiduguri.
He also blamed the long distance between Maiduguri and major petrol hubs such as Lagos and Port Harcourt for the shortfall in supply that has spooked the marketers.
He said: “The insecurity challenges along the road. You know we have had so many cases of blockage on the road and so on.
“Some of the vehicles break down because they are old and they are coming from Lagos with the bad roads here and there.”
Ciroma also disclosed that the NNPC depot in the city which has a storage capacity of at least 20 million litres, has been non-functional for over 15 years, making it impossible to stockpile products for the rainy day.