The recent Bus-Stop fight between Passengers and motorists over exorbitant charges of transport fare in Port Harcourt has been blamed on arbitrary increase in fuel pump price and hoarding of petrol by marketers which has forced a liter of petro to go between 150- 180 per liter.
The increase in the pump price however has affected the original transport fare of every Bus –Stop in Port Harcourt metropolis thereby causing commotion between the drivers and passengers who are insisting on the normal price of 50 naira per Bus-Stop.
At Rumuola junction on Wednesday two brothers angrily descended on a commercial driver for withholding their balance to makeup the new charge of 100 naira per Bus-Stop but the driver was later rescued by fellow passengers who contributed money to balance the angry brothers.
Mrs. Rosemary Ordu, one of the passengers who spoke with our reporter said there is no need of fighting with drivers in every Bus-Stop in Port Harcourt or passengers insisting on the old price when the marketers are selling petrol to drivers above the normal price.
She said. “For more than three weeks now it is one fight or the other in Port Harcourt Bus-Stop, why are we fighting the drivers they are not to be blame but marketers who are selling above the Federal Government recommendation price of a liter of petrol. Though, it is bad that some of the drivers are now using the ugly opportunity to exploit their passengers.”
Our investigation also revealed that there were reports of sharp practices, under-dispensing among others, at Igwuruta, Aba-road, Mile 3, Choba, Eneka and other part of the state.
An aggrieved motorists who simply identified himself as Chibuzor, lamented that it will be a lost on their part as drivers to buy petrol at the rate of 150- 180 naira per liter and still charge a normal price of 50 naira per Bus-Stop. “The last thing I will do is to bow on the pressure of passengers to collect 50 naira per Bus-Stop, it is not wise and I know I will not do it except I buy at the rate of 97-100 naira per liter.
Responding on the issue, the Public Relation Officer Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Rivers State branch comrade Obinna Nwana said marketers are not to be blame but Federal Government over unavailability capable refineries that could properly serve Rivers State and its neighbouring states.
Comrade Obinna said: “Any marketer who sale a pump price of fuel above 130 a liter is a thief, but we can’t blame them when we don’t have refineries that can capably serve the marketers, there is scarcity of fuel presently. You know how it use to be when there is a little problem in Port Harcourt refinery, some of the marketers go a long way to get the product and you don’t expect them to sale the normal price.
“I want you to understand that only Port Harcourt refinery supply fuel to all the neighbouring states, then the question is, what is Federal Government doing to solve the problem once for all, are we not capable of having other refineries,” he asked.
From: Obiajunwo Paul, Port Harcourt