The renewed operations of the Joint Task Force (JTF), deployed to protect oil facilities within the Niger Delta against illegal refineries and other oil related criminal activities has resulted to shortages of kerosene to residents in Bayelsa.
Kerosene scarcity was sequel to a raid by the joint military force, Operation Delta Safe to illegal refinery sites in Okaki, Rivers and Nembe in Bayelsa.
Checks in Yenagoa by our Correspondent indicated that the bulk of kerosene and diesel used by residents in Bayelsa were sourced from the two sites which were destroyed by troops.
It was further gathered that residents preferred kerosene sourced from the ‘local refineries‘ because it is cheaper and lasts longer than the ones sourced from the established distribution channels.
Mrs. Ebiere James, a housewife said that the price of kerosene has increased astronomically within the past few weeks, which made the commodity unaffordable to most households, and other smaller quantity dealers.
“The scarcity of kerosene has brought untold hardship to us in Bayelsa, kerosene is now costlier than gas, before now a 75 litres plastic bottle for the ‘Asari’ (illegally refined) sold for N100 but now it is N250.
“The 150 litres bottle which was sold for N200 now sells for N500, how then can we cope when the filling stations in Bayelsa do not stock the ‘white’ kerosene (legally refined) kerosene.
“The last time the NNPC mega station sold kerosene to the public in Yenagoa was in 2016, now the high cost of Asari kerosene is making people to consider using gas but the cost of cylinders and gas stoves is another obstacle,” James said.
Mr Same Yabrifa, who sells kerosene, said on Sunday that the destruction of the bush refineries in Okaki and Nembe has adversely affected supply of locally refined kerosene.
“These two sites are the major sources of kerosene and diesel in Bayelsa because they supply us in large quantities, even tankers come and load there and you know that regular filling stations cannot stand their competition.
“I tried sourcing the ‘white’ kerosene from a filling station and they told me that a 20 litre jerry can is N7,500 which amounts to N375, if I buy at that rate, how much will I sell?,” Yabririfa asked.
Speaking on the renewed clampdown on oil thieves, spokesman of JTF in the Niger Delta, Major Ibrahim Abdullahi, said that the joint force recently introduced the use of heavy equipment to destroy the oil distillation sites.
He said that the special equipment deployed by the troops crush the items used at the camps and make it economically not feasible for them to restart operation.
“The JTF has been carrying out massive metallic operations using swamp buggy against illegal refineries all over the joint operation area for over one month now.
“This new strategy was recently deployed by Commander of Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Suleiman Apochi, in our operations and it makes it difficult for them to reassemble and resume operation after raids,” Abdullahi said
“The scarcity of kerosene has brought untold hardship to us in Bayelsa; kerosene is now costlier than gas, before now a 75 litres plastic bottle for the ‘Asari’ (illegally refined) sold for N100 but now it is N250,”. – Mrs. Ebiere James, a housewife in Bayelsa