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Fuel scarcity: Black market booms in Lagos as motorists lament



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Fuel black marketers are smiling to banks as fuel scarcity continues to cripple most business activities in Lagos and other major capitals in the country.

In most filling stations visited in Lagos, petrol was selling above the regulated N175 per litre.

Olusoji Aremu, a taxi driver in Ikeja, Lagos’s capital, is unhappy. It is his second attempt at getting fuel after four hours of waiting, and he has threatened to fight with anyone in his way.

The mood is the same all over the service station. While some motorists join in Aremu’s occasional outbursts, others nurse their exasperation more patiently.

But just outside the queue, a few metres from the station, Akeem, a black market fuel seller, does not share in the vexation. Were it not for the scorching sun, his smile is a few teeth away from lighting up the filling station.

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Next to him is an empty 10-litre jerry can, proof of his morning sales. Clad in a pair of shorts and a shirt, he adjusts the beads on his hand and moves to reposition his hat.

“I buy fuel from the black market station so that I can have food,” he says, adding that his profit of at least N4,000 per day covers just enough.

In the Akowonjo area of the state, Jide, another black market fuel seller, shares the same sentiments as Akeem.

Although he says business is slow for him sometimes because his suppliers do not provide the fuel as often and as easily as he would like, he is optimistic the government would not fail in prolonging the scarcity.

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“We need this scarcity now more than ever. Before, it was easy to get; but now, it’s like we’re the ones hustling the fuel more than you people,” he says.

According to the black market fuel vendor, if the situation persists, it would only be a matter of time before they are at the shorter end of the stick, one way or the other.

But as the fuel scarcity in the country’s capital persists, conversations with dozens of black market hawkers and residents prove they’ll continue to be in a close toxic relationship with no end in sight.

A motorist, Biodun, who lamented the stress he had to go through to get the fuel said he paid N320 for a litre of petrol. He appealed to the federal government to find a lasting solution to the lingering scarcity before it overwhelms the people.

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