NEWS

IPMAN in Imo embarks on strike as transport fare hikes

By Peter Iyoma, August 26, 2021

Residents of imo State including motorists were on Wednesday, August 25, thrown into agony and lamentation following a strike embarked upon by the state chapter of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).

The strike, which caught members of the public unawares, expectedly resulted in an astronomic hike in transport fares by the few commercial vehicles and motorcycle operators on the roads as they increased their fares above 50 percent from the normal fares.

Tribune Online learnt that all petrol filling stations in Owerri metropolis were locked, while road side hawkers of the product resorted to selling in cans, as they had a field day with anxious consumers scrambling to obtain the commodity at exorbitant prices in order to operate.

Commuters who usually pay N100 fare from such places as Amakohia, Akwakuma to Owerri metropolis now pay N200,000 while those from Obinze, Umuguma, Irete, Orogwe and Ogbaku pay N300 as against N150.

It was reliably gathered that the strange development was a fallout of a running battle between the state government and the petroleum marketers, arising from the refusal of the former to honour an agreement between the duo.

The oil marketers had reportedly reached an agreement with the State Internal Revenue Service (IIRS) for its members, who operate within the Owerri metropolis, to pay an annual levy of N100,000 while those on the outskirts of the town should pay N50,000.

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The present Governor Hope Uzodimma’s led administration, shortly on assumption of office in January 2020, had unilaterally hiked the due to N1 million.

This was to the consternation of the marketers, just as the blunt refusal of the state government to abide by the recent court ruling in favour of the Oil marketers, whose member in Orlu lost his filling station through demolition did not help matters.

As at the time of filing this report, only a few vehicles operated on the roads, while some business centers, which operate their generating sets, packed up for lack of fuel to remain in business.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Emelumba, when contacted said efforts were on top gear to resolve the issue.

The commissioner had earlier in a radio announcement pleaded with the marketers to suspend the strike.

(Tribune)

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