Criminalizing Nigerian Citizens While Lacking Social Amenities

On the black market is scarce petrol resold at a hefty surcharge. Photo/Stefan Heunis/AFP

The Inspector General of the Nigerian Police Force has called for the arrest of anyone who sells or buys Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as Petrol in plastic containers because of the activities of miscreants selling this scarce commodity on the black market.

This type of pronouncement would have been very appropriate in periods when the country has sufficient supply of electricity. Many households have learned to generate electricity forcefully through different sizes of generating plants to serve their needs to keep their groceries and other items that should be refrigerated.

The small and medium scale enterprises that depend largely on electricity have shrunk to the barest minimum, despite the fact that they are the engine room of the economy. Some years ago, many manufacturers purchased manual equipment which is usually more demanding to operate but the ease brought by technology has been rendered useless because there is no electricity.

Nature has also unleashed sufficient heat in the country. Everyone is sweating profusely because there is no electricity to power any gadget that will help regulate the temperature of the environment which can only be controlled by some external cooling system.

The black market has thrived in Nigeria for many reasons some of which include regionalism (black market is the major means of selling petrol in some places in the Northern region of the country) unemployment, poor modes of distributing petroleum products, oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism.

There are myriad challenges in the petroleum sector that the police should collaborate with the Ministry of Petroleum to resolve instead of molesting Nigerians who want to solve their existential needs with their hard earned money.

All these threats were not made when the product was in sufficient quantity nationwide.