News / Economy

    Prices, Tensions Soar as Fuel Scarcity Drags On in Nigeria

    Prices and Tensions Soar as Fuel Scarcity Drags On in Nigeriai
    X
    March 12, 2014 4:08 AM
    Tensions are high in Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil exporter, as imported fuel for cars has been scarce across the country for weeks. Heather Murdock reports for VOA from Benin City, Nigeria.
    Prices and Tensions Soar as Fuel Scarcity Drags On in Nigeria
    Heather Murdock
    Tensions are high in Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil exporter, as imported fuel for cars has been scarce across the country for weeks.  While angry drivers sit in long lines at gas stations to pay skyrocketing prices, the government blames crooked fuel marketers for the shortages. 

    At a gas station in southern Nigeria, drivers have been waiting for hours to buy fuel at the government-subsidized price.  The alternative is to pay 30 percent more at one of the few other open stations in town, or buy low-quality black-market fuel for double or triple the cost.

    As they wait for hours, baking in their cars under the sun, drivers say it is not just the high price of gas that makes them angry.

    “Can not you see me?  I am even sweating now.  Before we see the fuel, it is a very long stress.  So that is just it. That is just it,” said one of the drivers Ojo Odiasi.

    Despite the frustration, and the fact that while regular people wait, VIP's are ushered through the back gate, the station is calm.  Locals say everyone knows with tensions so high, an argument could quickly become dangerous.

    Nigeria is a major oil producing country, but Nigerians say they see no benefits from the country's oil wealth.  To add insult to injury, they say, the country has to import fuel because its four dilapidated refineries can not produce nearly enough.

    In a press release, Nigeria’s petroleum ministry accused fuel marketers and truck drivers of creating a false scarcity to drive up prices.  They say there is no actual shortage of fuel, it is just not being delivered.

    Outside his home on a quiet dirt road, Raymond Okoro, a political science lecturer at the University of Benin, says corruption at every level is responsible for the scarcity, including, as the ministry says, among the marketers.

    But after years of regular fuel shortages and false promises, he says the Nigerian people ultimately blame the government.

    “Within the time frame of a decade, I think it is the highest frustration.  It is not only the issue of fuel scarcity that has ignited that frustration.  Several other socio-economic issues have,” said Okoro.

    High unemployment, constant power outages, insecurity and under-development are other infuriating issues, says Okoro.

    “If you bring all these elements together and now crown it, just like icing on a cake, with fuel scarcity, you can have a clear picture of how frustrated most persons are, particularly the youth,” he said. 

    If the shortage drags on, Okoro says, it could undermine President Goodluck Jonathan’s chances for re-election in 2015.

    Despite the long gas lines, drivers say people are hesitant to protest on the streets for fear of violence or arrest.

    Yet no issue is more vital for many Nigerians than the price of fuel. 

    Near the back of the line about a kilometer from the station, taxi driver Goddey Akpolo says he now makes zero percent profit.

    “It affects our business.  So we beg the government to help us buy fuel to save our businesses,” he said.

    Akpolo says he continues to work simply to have something to do.

    In 2012, nationwide protests broke out when the Nigerian government canceled the national fuel subsidy.

    The price of transportation and food doubled, then tripled.  Public outrage forced President Jonathan to partially re-instate the subsidy.

    Analysts say ending the fuel shortages is complex and needs an institutional fix.  But as the shortages and long lines continue, Nigerians are growing impatient for a solution.

    You May Like

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border From Mexico

    In remote areas of the Sonoran Desert, which straddles the US-Mexico, thousands of migrants face arid desolation

    Video Recycling is Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    It's an ancient craft that stretches back millennia - but despite Lebanon’s trash crisis providing a lifeline, remaining glass blowers face an uncertain future

    Meet the Alleged Killer of Cambodia’s Kem Ley

    What little is known about former soldier, troublesome Buddhist monk and indebted gambler, raises more questions than answers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9079
    JPY
    USD
    106.10
    GBP
    USD
    0.7636
    CAD
    USD
    1.3106
    INR
    USD
    67.076

    Rates may not be current.