The acute petrol scarcity that has paralyzed activities in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, may lead to violent crisis in the town as a coalition of artisan youth groups in the state has threaten to engage in, “a mass action against the petroleum marketers.”
Petroleum dealers in the state had withdrawn their services since the beginning of the week and had refused to sell, claiming that leaders of their association, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) had instructed them not to supply the state over a disagreement.
This has resulted to acute fuel scarcity in the state capital, thereby, crippling economic and social activities in the capital and its environs.
The youths, under the aegis of Ekiti Youth Artisans Coalition (EYAC), in a statement made available to newsmen on Friday, alleged that the fuel scarcity was “a deliberate ploy by the dealers in the product to cripple Ekiti and arrest the socio-economic development currently being witnessed in the state.”
In the statement signed by Olakunle Ajayi, President and Odunlade Aribisala, Secretary, the group said they were “artisans and self-employed young people, who are among those affected most by this deliberate act of economic sabotage currently going on in our state.”
Ajayi and Aribisala claimed that their association had, “tried to find out what led to the current fuel scarcity and we were unable to get any credible answer and we found that Ekiti is the only victim in this current attack of the powers that be in the petroleum business.”
EYAC said, “we are frustrated because tailors, dry cleaners, barbers, drivers, cold room operators, relaxation joint operators and many other small businesses of our members are being killed by this act of the marketers which we see as pure wickedness and lack of humanity.”
They threatened that, “if the marketers refuse to rescind their decision and begin to sell petrol to Ekiti people within 24 hours, we will be forced to embark on a mass action and the consequences may not be pleasant.”
They also said in the statement, a copy of which they said they had made available to the state governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, that the decision to withdraw petrol from Ekiti public was “as a result of impunity, callousness, greed and unpatriotic action of the dealers, which has caused untold hardship to Ekiti people.”
According to them, “our patience is running out because the action of the petrol marketers against the people of Ekiti is the height of selfishness, and we cannot further condone their deliberate plan to sabotage the Ekiti economy.”
Reacting to the threat of unexplained “mass action” by the aggrieved youths, Governor Fayose appealed to the youths not to take laws into their hands as the state government was, “seriously working to resolve the matter and restore normalcy in that sector of the economy of the state.”
Chief Press Secretary to Governor Fayose, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, who reacted to the statement, admitted that, “the statement had been submitted to the governor and while we sympathise with them and the generality of the Ekiti public, we urge them to maintain the peace as government is resolutely addressing the matter.”
The governor said the state government was trying to ensure sanity in the siting and construction of petrol filling stations in the state and had expected the cooperation of all the people of the state, “now that the government is moving to prevent avoidable loss of lives and properties as well as the untold suffering that follows fire as we had in January this year, some selfish petrol dealers are trying to frustrate the noble efforts of government.”