The partial closure of the border between Nigeria and Republic of Benin has led to an increase in the cost of petrol from the official price of N145 to N350 per litre in some border communities in Ogun.
The traditional ruler of Iwoye Ketu, Oba Ademola Alaye, said in a statement in Abeokuta that the development was already hampering social and economic activities of the people living in the affected cimmunities.
The monarch, however, said overzealousness on the part of officers and men of the Joint Security Task Force was largely responsible for the astronomical hike in the price of petrol.
He said that the task force officials’ refusal to allow fuel tankers to reach Iwoye-Ketu, Idofa, Ilara, Oke Agbede, Moriwi and Wasinmi Okuta, all border communities, to discharge the product at designated filling stations had brought untold hardship on the people.
“My attention has been drawn to a statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari while responding to his Republic of Benin counterpart request that partial closure of land borders was due to the smuggling of rice into the country.
“With the statement, how come the Joint Security Task Force now create hardship for the people of Iwoye-Ketu, Idofa, Ilara, Oke Agbede, Moriwi and Wasinmi Okuta by not allowing fuel tankers to reach these communities.
“As at today, a litre of petrol is now N350 due to the overzealousness of the task force, creating unwarranted hardship for my people,” the statement quoted the monarch as saying.
Alaye noted that the development had further compounded the economic challenges facing the residents still battling with the issue of tomatoes, yam and other perishable goods reportedly seized by the task force.
He called on the Federal Government to quickly intervene by ending the scarcity of fuel and to allow his subjects to continue with their legitimate businesses.
“I’m now appealing to the Federal Government to quickly intervene on the issue of scarcity of fuel because we are all Nigerians doing legitimate businesses.
“The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria did not say that people living at the border areas should not live in good condition.
” Most of us are predominantly farmers who cannot afford N350 per litre of fuel,” the monarch said.
When contacted the Operations Controller of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Abeokuta Field Office, Mrs Muinat Bello – Zagi, promised to look into the complaint and take appropriate action. (NAN)