By Ikeugonna Eleke
Although petrol stations across Anambra State have since resumed business, the one day strike embarked by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Anambra Chapter, August 15, caught many people by surprise and almost paralysed business activities, reports Ikeugonna Eleke.
According to reports gathered by Fides, the strike, which plunged the state into hardship, was as a result of the recent demolition of some petrol stations in the state by the Anambra State Government.
The strike which caught many residents of the state by surprise, kept motorists at home and caused residents to trek long distances.
Motorists however, found succour at NNPC stations which dispensed fuel at normal prices amid long queues.
The Anambra State Government had recently demolished some petrol stations which were deemed to be sited close to residential areas.
But some members of IPMAN, while reacting to the demolition, accused government of malice.
A petroleum marketer, who spoke to Fides on condition of anonymity, said the marketers embarked on the strike to press for compensation for their colleagues whose petrol stations were demolished.
He said, ‘Our pain is that the affected petrol stations were built with government approval, but this government has demolished them on the excuse that they were sited close to residential areas, not minding that the owners of those stations obtained approval and paid to government before building them. ‘We are asking for compensation for our members over the demolition of their property,’ the source said.
News of the strike filtered into town late on Tuesday, causing residents to engage in panic-buying in petrol stations that were opened.
Fides found out that petrol stations remained open, attending to customers who formed long queues at designated stations until the wee hours of the morning.
The Anambra State chairman of IPMAN, Chief Cletus Obiokafor, declined speaking to journalists when contacted but said his office did not authorize the strike action and would not want to speak on it.
The Anambra State Commissioner for information, Mr C. Don Adinuba, when approached on the telephone over plans by government to ameliorate the plight of the people of the state following the strike, also declined to comment.
Fides however learnt that as a result of the panic buying caused by the strike, the State Director of DSS, Yusuf Isyaku, invited the leadership of IPMAN and representatives of government for a resolution.
The meeting, Fides learnt, must have yielded results, resulting in the resumption of business by petrol stations on Thursday morning.