ABEOKUTA, Nigeria – In Ogun State, Nigeria, the adjustment of petrol pump price by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has pushed the cost of fuel to a staggering N1,000 per litre in border communities, the hardest hit by the recent price hike.
While a litre of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, sells for between N500 and N600 in Abeokuta and other cities, residents of border towns grapple with prices as high as N800 to N1,000.
These exorbitant rates are a consequence of the ongoing ban suspending the supply of petroleum products within a 20km radius of the country’s border with Benin Republic, a policy implemented by former President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 to prevent the diversion of subsidised fuel to neighbouring countries.
Despite the Buhari administration later granting some filling stations waivers to sell fuel in these border areas, the number remains woefully inadequate for the local population, forcing many to rely heavily on the black market, where prices have skyrocketed.
Residents of Idiroko, Ijofin, Agosasa, Ipokia, and Iwoye Ketu, all in Ipokia and Imeko Afon local government areas, confirmed the elevated prices.
“A litre costs N1,000. I bought some fuel to power my motorcycle this morning,” said Ahmed Ismaila, the CDA Chairman of Iwoye Ketu on Sunday, July 23, 2023.
He revealed that many locals have abandoned their vehicles, using motorcycles to save costs. According to Ismaila, local transportation costs have increased by about 300%.
“The government must restore fuel supply to border towns. We are Nigerians, but we are being deprived of our rights because we live in border towns. I urge the government to lift the ban which has been in place since 2019,” Ismaila implored.
In addition to fuel price grievances, Abdulganiyu Alabi from Ijofin lamented the limited number of filling stations with waivers, accusing them of selling primarily to their associates.
Alabi also called on the government to address the transportation cost surge and the dilapidated condition of the Ijofin-Agosasa road, vital to the local economy.