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Anambra motorists groan as fuel sells at N300 per litre



A litre of fuel is now sold between N280 and N300 in Awka, the Anambra State Capital.

The development, residents say, has made them apprehensive, wondering what the cost of living will be in the year 2023.

This is because the cost of transportation, food items, building materials, and other essential commodities has been hitting the roof without any regulation or control by the authorities.

Radio Nigeria correspondent, Uche Ndeke, reports that some of the people traveling for the festivities spent between five and six hours on queues on Saturday at the NNPC filling station in Awka before they were eventually told the commodity was not available.

Speaking with Radio Nigeria, some of the motorists said they came out to queue up at the NNPC filling station as early as 05:30AM last Saturday, in the hope that they would dispense fuel and considering that it was just a day to the New Year celebrations.

As they waited, the lines kept extending as people hoped to buy fuel at no higher than N180 per litre as against the N300 at which most other stations were selling the commodity.

But that was not to be. After nearly six hours on the queue, the people were informed that the fuel they had all waited so long for was not available.

One angry customer said a few hours after the crowd had dispersed in disappointment, the stations began to sell.

Our correspondent also drove through the same NNPC stations in the area only to find out that the supposedly non-available product was actually being dispensed to just three vehicles by the same station.

When approached, the supervisor claimed that there was no fuel and that what was being dispensed to those vehicles was “reserve” petrol.

Also an ugly scene played out at one petrol station before the Anambra State Fire Service office in Awka when some angry commuters got wind that the said station was dispensing at N220 per litre. They all rushed to the place, causing a massive commotion where an existing queue was almost stretched at the Government House axis of the Enugu-Onitsha highway.

The station manager, who was dispensing alone because his pump attendants had traveled for the yuletide, issued numbers to some vehicles on the queue, claiming that he could not possibly attend to every single person on the line.

Cost of goods and services

The cost of goods, transportation and other services keeps skyrocketing by the day, with their providers complaining that things may become worse rather than better this New Year if government does not take urgent measures to address the situation .

Speaking with Radio Nigeria, a resident of Awka, Paul Okolo, said it was regrettable that the hike has continued to take its toll on business, with prices of goods and services increasing without control.

Another resident, Ifunanya Ene, recounted her own daily ordeal, complaining that the situation has affected her expenditure as transportation fare increases per drop.

Travelers may be stranded

A Public Affairs Analyst, Comrade Obi Ochije, described the present situation as “shameful” for a country like Nigeria to be battling with scarcity of a product “they have in abundance”.

Comrade Ochije said if nothing was done urgently by the federal government, a majority of those who traveled home for the yuletide and New Year celebrations may be stranded due to high cost of transportation.

Another consumer, Chinyere Osita, appealed to the federal government to fix the nation’s refineries instead of allowing its citizens to “languish in pains every now and then”.

The respondents said it was “regrettable” that in the face of the aforesaid challenges, the government was not making any pronouncement, explanations or taking drastic steps to address the problem, which they fear would negatively impact their lives this new year.

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Media must hold govt accountable, any attempt to gag journalists will fail – Reuben Abati



Renowned journalist and former presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, asserted that the media has a crucial responsibility to ensure government accountability, emphasizing that this obligation is both legally mandated and resistant to attempts at censorship. Speaking on the latest episode of the Interviewing The Interviewer series hosted by his wife, acclaimed broadcaster Kikelomo Atanda-Owo, Abati highlighted that the Nigerian media has historically functioned as a crusader, advocating for people’s rights and championing their causes.

He pointed to a pivotal moment in 1992 when the Babangida administration introduced broadcast deregulation, leading to a proliferation of radio and television stations in the country. Abati noted the media’s unwavering commitment, citing instances such as the June 12 struggle. According to him, journalists are duty-bound, as outlined in Section 22 of the 1999 constitution, to call those in power to account. This obligation is further emphasized in Section 39 of the same constitution, with ethical guidelines set by the Nigerian Press Organisation dictating that journalists must be objective, fair, accurate, and act in the public interest.

Abati highlighted the historical resilience of journalists against attempts to silence or harm them, asserting that every effort to gag or suppress journalists has ultimately failed. He encouraged journalists to be courageous and knowledgeable, underscoring the importance of these qualities in fulfilling their duty to society.

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Motorists stuck in traffic, passengers stranded as military blocks Keffi-Abuja road



Hundreds of government employees and self-employed individuals find themselves stranded along the Keffi-Abuja road due to a partial blockade imposed by the military. The blockage, occurring at the Kugbo hill near the popular Kugbo Mechanic Village, was unanticipated by many motorists. The military has not officially disclosed the reason for the road closure, but sources suggest it may be linked to security concerns.

Certain disgruntled groups have reportedly expressed intentions to organize peaceful protests against government policies, possibly prompting the road closure. As of the latest update, the traffic jam resulting from the blockade has extended over two kilometers to Mararaba. Numerous influential individuals, unwilling to endure the inconvenience, were observed turning back to their destinations or parking by the roadside until the blockade is lifted.

In response to the situation, commercial motorcycle operators (Okada) are capitalizing on the gridlock, charging inflated fares to transport passengers from Mararaba to Kugbo Furniture Village. The usual N200 fare for this route has surged to N1000 where services are available. Frustrated civil servants, forced to endure extended waits by the roadside, are now opting to return home.

Expressing his surprise, a commercial bus driver named Iiliasu Mohammed stated that the military’s abrupt action caught him off guard, emphasizing the importance of prior notification to mitigate adverse effects on the daily lives of ordinary Nigerians. Mohammed, who spent two hours in the gridlock, appealed to the military to ease the roadblock, particularly for his passengers who are civil servants trying to reach their workplaces.

It is noteworthy that only the Keffi-Abuja road has been blocked, while the Abuja-Keffi axis remains unaffected.

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NiMet forecasts 3-day sunshine, haziness from Sunday



The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has forecasted a period of sunshine and haziness from Sunday to Tuesday across the country. According to the weather outlook released on Sunday in Abuja, NiMet predicts sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere over the northern region during this forecast period. The North Central region is also expected to experience sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere.

In the Inland states of the South, NiMet anticipates cloudy skies with spells of sunshine. Coastal cities are expected to have cloudy skies with the possibility of thunderstorms over parts of Edo, Ondo, Imo, Ebonyi, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River states during the afternoon and evening hours.

Dust haze is foreseen over the northern region on Monday, while the North Central region is expected to experience sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere. The Inland states of the South and coastal cities are predicted to have cloudy skies with spells of sunshine, along with the likelihood of morning mist over Delta, Bayelsa, Lagos, Cross River, and Akwa Ibom. Thunderstorms are expected later in the day over parts of Rivers, Bayelsa, and Akwa Ibom states.

On Tuesday, NiMet forecasts dust haze with a visibility range of 2km to 5 km over the northern region. The North Central region is expected to experience dust haze as well. In the Inland states of the South and coastal cities, cloudy skies with spells of sunshine are anticipated.

NiMet issues a cautionary note about dust particles in suspension and advises the public, especially individuals with respiratory issues, to take necessary precautions. The agency also warns of the potential for moderate to heavy rainfall leading to flash floods and advises the public to exercise caution. Strong winds are likely to precede and accompany thunderstorms, and disaster risk managers, agencies, and individuals are advised to be proactive during the rainy season.

Finally, NiMet advises airline operators to obtain updated weather reports from its office for effective planning in their operations.

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