There was panic buying of Premium Motor Spirit in Imo State on Monday and Tuesday, just days after the Independent Petroleum Marketers And Dealers lifted its strike action.
Motorists and residents throng different fuel stations on Monday night and Tuesday morning as rumor filtered into the air that the suspended strike action would be resumed on Tuesday (today).
The development caused gridlock across the state capital as motorists waited in queues on the tarred roads to buy PMS.
While many fuel stations failed to open on Monday owing to the Sit-at-home order which was largely observed by the residents of the state capital, others who opened had difficulties attending to large number of people who came to buy the product.
Our correspondent who monitored the situation on Monday night and Tuesday morning saw motorists and residents alike struggling in queues and on the pump points to be attended to.
While the price of PMS didn’t increase from N165 per litre, many who came in their cars also carried cans to buy the product for stocking.
While there was no official statement from the regulators that there would be any strike action, residents insisted that they didn’t want to experience what they passed through during the first strike action that was temporarily lifted on Friday night.
A motorist at one of the filling stations at Okigwe Road, told our correspondent that his friend told him that there would be another strike action by IPMAN on Tuesday.
He said, “My friend told me to go and buy fuel because there will be another strike. I am here because I do not want to be caught in the web. The last experience taught me a huge lesson. I have been here for more than one hour but I have not been attended to but I will continue to wait until it is my turn.
Our correspondent also observed that the panic buying affected the cost of transportation in the state as commercial vehicle drivers increased the cost of fares in and outside the state capital
When contacted, IPMAN spokesperson in the state, Acho Ehirim, said that the association was not intending to embark on any strike action until its window of reconcilation with the state government was expired.
The state commissioner for information and strategy, Declan Emelumba, told our correspondent in a telephone conversation that he didn’t know where the news of the strike action emanated from.