From Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Edo State Government, yesterday, has expressed optimism that the current fuel scarcity plaguing the state would end soon. This was even as it took delivery of 780, 000 litres of the Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol) to the state and the setting up of a task force to monitor its distributions and sale in filling stations.
State Commissioner for Mining and Energy, Etan Uzamere, who announced this at a press conference in Benin, said that the supplied product would be distributed among major and independent marketers, assuring that fuel scarcity would soon come to an end. The press conference, which took place after a meeting of the state government and the Civil Society Organisations in the state, became necessary to intimate the people with the efforts government was making to ease the pains of the fuel scarcity.
The Commissioner who addressed journalists along with his counterpart in the Ministry of Communications and Orientation, Mr. Chris Nehikhare and Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Media Projects, explained that the state government would monitor the sales of fuel in the state to ensure that members of the public were not exploited by the operators of the various filling stations.
In this regard, Uzamere hinted that members of the Petroleum Monitoring Task Force would be unveiled later Tuesday evening, stressing that all efforts would be put in place to ensure that no product supplied to Edo State is diverted to any other place.
“The government has heard the cries of the people on the issue of fuel scarcity in the state. The state government is working to ensure the availability of the product. As part of the measures, the government has set up a task force to monitor the situation and ensure that no Edo State citizen is exploited. We also wish to announce that already, the state has received 780,000 litres of fuel which will be distributed to major and independent marketers and the task force, whose members will be announced before the close of work today, will monitor its distribution and sales”, Uzamere stated.
In his remarks, Nehikhare said “the issue of the welfare of the citizens of Edo State is very crucial and the government takes that seriously. We understand the issue of fuel scarcity and we take that also very seriously.
Though distribution is not done here in Edo State, we will ensure the quantity allocated to Edo State is retained here and sold here. No single litre of the 780,000 litres will be allowed to be diverted”.
He commended the Civil society organisations (CSOs) for the maturity displayed in handling the protest that erupted on Monday over the fuel crisis, saying that the government would continue to engage all stakeholders in a bid to find lasting solutions to the issue.
Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the governor on Media, Osagie, said that parts of the duties of the task force would be to monitor pricing in the state.
“We want to warn people who jack up their prices that anyone who is caught would be severely punished according to the dictates of the law. The government will not take prisoners in that regard as no Edo person is exploited. We will guard against subjecting Edo people to pain. This government is committed and will leave no stone unturned in ensuring normal pricing of petrol in the state”, he warned.