Youths in Ekiti State on Tuesday, carried out their threat of embarking on mass action against petroleum marketers in the state for cutting off fuel supply to residents.
As early as 7am on Tuesday, the youths, under the aegis of Ekiti Youth Artisans Coalition, took to the streets in their thousands, demanding the "relocation of some petrol stations out of the State since they have refused to sell petrol to the people."
Displaying placards with various inscriptions, the youths visited some petrol stations in Dalimore
and Adebayo areas of the State to express their anger to the marketers, and vowed to continue with the mass action.
They accused one of the marketers, Alhaji Suleiman Akinbami of being the brain behind the petrol marketers' refusal to supply fuel.
Some of the placards read; "Akinbami, return the N50m you collected from APC," "Leave our State if you can't sell petrol,"No sales of petrol, no opening of shops in petrol stations," "No to building of petrol stations in residential areas," "Akinbami Ole, thief," "No more building of petrol stations close to schools," and so on.
It would be recalled that in a statement made available to newsmen last Friday, the youths had alleged that the fuel scarcity was, "a deliberate ploy by the dealers to cripple Ekiti and arrest the socio-economic development currently being witnessed in the state."
One of the youths, who simply identified himself as Gbenga, said: "If the marketers refused to rescind their decision and begin to sell petrol to Ekiti people within 24 hours, we will be forced to embark on a mass action and the consequences may not be pleasant,"
The early morning protest, however, turned violent when some hoodlums tried to force the petrol stations to dispense fuel or close down their premises, leading to the vandalisation of the affected petrol stations.
Reacting to allegations that he collected N50 million from APC to sponsor non-supply of fuel to Ekiti, Alhaji Akinbami who is secretary of the
petrol marketers' association in Ekiti, denied the allegation, alleging that: "the protest by the youths must have been sponsored by government. We don't know anything about non- supply of petrol to the state and I did not collect any money from any party. I am not a politician and no one should drag me into political games."
Governor Fayose, through his Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, appealed to residents to put further protests on hold, saying no one should take the laws into his hands.
Adelusi said: "Our attention has be drawn to a protest carried out by some youths against the petrol marketers over their continued refusal to supply fuel in Ekiti State.
"We are more concerned that the protest turned violent as a result of some hoodlums who tried to use the opportunity to force some of the petrol stations to sell fuel.
"Even though we appreciate the frustration and anger of the people against the petrol marketers and we sympathise with our people who are facing untold hardships, they must exercise restraint and maintain peace.
"Ekiti people especially the youths must not take laws into their hands under whatever guise and the law enforcement agents should be alive to their responsibilities, especially at this period.
"Several efforts have been made to hold meetings with the petrol marketers but each time we called them for a meeting, for reasons best known to them, they refused to attend.
"Be that as it may, we will continue to seek for dialogue with the petrol marketers with a view to resolving issues amicably. However, we must state that the government will remained resolute in its resolve to safeguard the lives of Ekiti people by not allowing construction of petrol stations in residential and school areas.
"Apart from already existing petrol stations, construction works on all petrol stations being built in residential and school areas stand stopped and the Certificates of Occupancy stand revoked.
"Furthermore, business premises of all petrol stations that are unwilling to sell fuel remained closed. Consequently, no commercial activities must be carried out in any petrol station, except the ones selling fuel to the people, " he said.