There was palpable anxiety among members of the public, following a rise in the ex-depot price of petrol by 4.3% to 490 naira per litre. As a result, some petrol stations have started selling above 500 naira per litre, 12 naira higher than the 488 naira per litre price in the Lagos area and 500 naira in Ibadan.

But findings showed that NNPC Limited still sells the product to major marketers at 446.57 naira per litre.

A visit to private depots in Lagos showed that independent marketers, who lift at N490 per litre ended up selling it at 520 naira per litre at their stations depending on the location in Lagos.

It also indicated that while NNPC Limited continues to sell at 488 naira per litre in Lagos and environs at their retail stations, the major marketers fixed their prices at between 488 naira and 492 naira per litre, depending on location.

This is even as many operators who bought at 490 naira per litre were seen reselling at 515 naira per litre in a thriving black market, a development that has put additional price markups on retail prices.

The checks further showed that many independent marketers closed their gates against motorists and other users of the product while some hawkers were seen retailing petrol at exorbitant prices ranging from N550 to N650 per litre at Maryland, Ikorodu road and other parts of Lagos.

The case is not different in Ibadan as some filling stations owned by the independent marketers have started selling between 515 and 520 naira fixed by the NNPCL while only the marketers are selling at the regulated price of 500 naira

Reports has it that officials of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, are not present to monitor and enforce sanctions against defaulters at the filling stations, a development that emboldened illegal operators to embark on sharp practices, especially pump manipulation and product diversion as many customers have started complaining on the quality of the products being dispensed to them as well as not getting money worth of the product paid for.

Culled/ Oluwayemisi Owonikoko

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