A large crowd of protesters took to the streets in Benin City, the capital of Edo State in Southwest Nigeria, to demonstrate against the long-standing fuel scarcity and the increase in petrol prices.
According to video footage from the scene, the protesters blocked roads and lit fires, creating thick smoke that filled the air.
A voice narration in the video said, “This is happening live in Benin City, Edo State capital; huge protest going on over fuel crisis. You can see protesters block roads and making fire on the roadblocks.”
The price of premium motor spirit (petrol) has gone up, with some fuel stations selling it for as much as N400 ($1.06) per liter. Previously, the official cost of the product was N165 ($0.44) per liter, but reports alleged that the government quietly raised the price to N185 ($0.50) per liter.
However, due to the scarcity of the product and rising demand, many fuel stations are now selling petrol for between N340 ($0.92) and N400 ($1.06) per liter.
This shortage of petrol has caused significant hardship for the people of Nigeria.
In response to this crisis, President Buhari recently established a 14-member committee, which he will chair as the Minister of Petroleum Resources. The committee’s purpose is to address the challenges in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, which have caused the fuel scarcity, and to track petroleum products to eliminate smuggling and determine daily national consumption.
In October 2022, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Timipre Sylva, stated that Nigeria was losing approximately 700,000 barrels of crude oil to theft each day.
The Permanent Secretary in the petroleum resources ministry, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda, who represented Sylva at the 2002 graduation of students from the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) said this at the event.
Fuel scarcity and price increase in Nigeria continue to pose a major challenge for the people of the country.
The government’s recent efforts to address the issue through the establishment of a committee may bring some relief, but it remains to be seen what impact it will have.