Wednesday’s strike by petroleum dealers in the 27 local councils of Imo State has left motorists, commuters and other petrol-users stranded.
All the fuel stations in the state were under lock and key, as the dealers demanded compensation for the demolition of a fuel station during the regime of Rochas Okorocha, among others.
Commuters were seen trekking long distances, as available commercial vehicles jacked transport fares by as much as 100 per cent.
The Guardian gathered that a trip from Owerri, the state capital, to Aba in Abia State, that formerly cost about N1,000 was increased to N2,000. Also, Owerri inter-city drop was increased from about N50 to N100 and above.
Parallel marketers, who had stored fuel, sold at N700 per litre.
The state government had appealed to the fuel dealers to shelve the strike, urging them to wait for the appellate court to decide on the judgement of a high court, which ruled in the favour of their member, for compensation.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, stated on Monday, “Imo State Government is aware of the plan by petroleum marketers in the state to embark on a strike from tomorrow, Tuesday, August 24, 2021.
“Their grouse is an alleged refusal of the state government to obey a court judgement on payment of compensation to their member whose filling station at Orlu was demolished by the Okorocha administration.”
According to him, the government has reasons to believe that there is more to the planned strike than meets the eye.
He explained, “First, the judgement itself was hidden from the current administration, and no effort was made to dialogue with the government. Despite this, when the government found out about the judgement, it responded appropriately as a law-abiding government by proceeding on appeal.
“Second and curiously, the petroleum marketers had made efforts to hoodwink tanker drivers to stop the supply of petroleum products to the state by midnight of Monday, August 23, obviously using the influence of the affected member who was once a tanker driver.”
The government advised those planning the strike to respect the law in the interest of peace and economic well-being of the people.
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