The insanity of the current fuel scarcity in the city of Lagos: Are we not tired of “shuffering and shmiling?”
Endless queues at fuel stations, overcrowded bus stops and beautifully dressed men and women ‘trekking’ (walking) long distances are now a common sight in the city of Lagos. The ongoing fuel scarcity is no respecter of suits or fancy clothes. Jerry cans are the new ‘it’ accessories, not bags or brief cases. Some institutions are no longer in session, offices are shutting down, asking their staff to work remotely from home, but even at that, the persistent power cuts remain a hindrance to productivity.
“It’s insanity here in Lagos – sheer madness – especially with the power cut issue,” I lamented to a friend in Calabar over Blackberry messenger as she asked of the situation in Lagos with the ongoing fuel crisis. And it’s not like Lagos is the only place affected by the dearth in premium motor spirit (petrol), no, the hardship is spread across the country. But Lagos has it worse, considering the population and also the fact that it is the social and commercial hub of the country, playing host to several multinationals.
The current hardship is taking its toll on everyone, unleashing demons in men. It doesn’t help that policemen and soldiers are now catalysts for anarchy as they are seen wielding guns and whips at already frustrated civilians at fuel stations, intimidating them and marketers to obtain access to fuel or other petroleum products. And distressed commercial motorists, motorcyclists, and tricyclists remain rooted in stagnant serpentine queues unable to go about their businesses.
“This uprising will bring out the beast in us.” – Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Here in this city, people are losing their minds and lives over the lingering fuel crisis. It is not uncommon to find grown men acting absurdly, and exchanging blows in petrol stations and fuel queues. On Wednesday, a black-market fuel seller, was shot dead by a Nigerian Security Civil Defence Corp in front of the Forte Oil located at 21 road, FESTAC Town. Although it’s yet to be ascertained what exactly led to the shooting, it would not be wrong to say it’s simply the madness of it all. There is already an unrest; people are irate, and anything is expected. Fela wasn’t wrong when he said, “This uprising will bring out the beast in us.”
The blame game played by authorities further exasperates Nigerians. Instead of working to alleviate the suffering of the common man, they have become skilled in the art of casting blames, giving several excuses as the cause of the fuel scarcity. The government already has a knack for blaming the past administration, so it was no surprise when they said the past administration is responsible for the current fuel crisis. Also, independent marketers and fuel importers blame the situation on foreign exchange, and a prolonged power tussle between factions. And lets not forget oil pipeline vandalism, and corruption.
Enough! Nigerians have had enough of the excuses, blames, and reasons for the country’s current economic woes. Families need food on their tables, homes and businesses need power, and vehicles need fuel. When will President Buhari and his administration put an end to their propaganda? And when will Nigeria cease to quietly bemoan the hardship? Are we not tired of “shuffering and shmiling?”