By Soulemanu Buba
Inhabitants of Northwest regional capital Bamenda have been queuing up at filling stations for several days now to get fuel, but have usually been disappointed as the liquid has become scarcer in the city.
Drivers told MMI that fuel is very limited in supply or not available at all in some cases.
They are blaming vendors for creating ‘artificial scarcity.’
“We see roadside vendors of fuel buying in larger quantities but when we come to fill our tanks, they tell us there is no gasoline. These vendors now sell a litter for 1,000 francs. These managers are into shady businesses with the vendors. They should be investigated,” said Suh, a cab driver in Bamenda.
Drivers have accused managers of filling stations of creating artificial scarcity in order to make fast cash when prices go up.
In Bamenda, much of the fuel is retailed by roadside vendors who buy from people who smuggle it from Nigeria.
This illegal business is usually overlooked by authorities, who are alleged to be indirectly facilitating it in exchange for bribe.
Meanwhile, these roadside vendors have attributed the fuel scarcity to the difficulties they face in smuggling the fuel in Cameroon.
“Transporting the fuel from Nigeria into Cameroon is not easy. The Nigerian elections too have added more salt to injuries. Borders were closed and the little that gets in, dealers suffer a lot bribing their way with huge sums of money, as uniformed officers will not allow them pass without bribe. This has made matters worst,” a roadside fuel vendor told MIMI.
The fuel scarcity has already triggered a rise in the transportation fare around the city of Bamenda, with the population feeling the consequences.