Kano state fuel marketers have been found to be selling Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol, above the government-directed price of N145.

An investigation carried out by a correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the pump prices range from N153 to N155. The situation, the correspondent reports, is worse in places outsie the capital as it costs more than this in some local government areas.

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The filling stations are mostly closed, thereby causing long queues at the few ones who remain open. This act has created an artificial scarcity that has caused a partial paralysis of socio-economic activities in the state.

It has also coughed up black marketers who have taken advantage of the shortage to make a quick buck. They are rreported to be selling four-litre gallons for as much as N900.

Commercial tricycle operators have also increased their fares from the usual N50 per drop to between N80 and N100 per drop depending on the distance.

The ugly trend started when marketers started hoarding their products and locking their filling stations in anticipation of a fuel price hike that never came. The federal government had in a statement denied rumours of a plan to increase th eprice of fuel.

The Chairman of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN), Alhaji Bashir Dan-Malam, could not be reached as his mobile phone was not going through.

Paul Jehzi, spokesman of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Kano State, said a task force to check hoarding and sale of fuel above the approved price of N145 has been constituted. He said the task force was already working and making sure the pump prices are approved prices and also to combat the artificial scarcity.