In spite of the problem of lingering petrol scarcity, Abuja residents thronged various recreation centres on Monday to celebrate Christmas.
Fun seekers in large number troupe to some parks in Abuja, especially Magicland, Monoliza Amusement Park, Wonder land and Millennium Park.
Many fun seekers expressed appreciation to God for making them to celebration another Christmas which marks the birth of Jesus Christ.
They said they did not allow the fuel scarcity to affect their joy during the Christmas.
At the popular Magic land located near the city gate, fun seekers in their hundreds trouped to catch fun.
A Sterling Bank van with registration, Lagos, MUS 723 XR, equipped with mobile Auto Teller Machine (ATM), was stationed in the park to ensure that fun seekers do not run out of cash.
Mr Johnbull Emeka, a business man at Wuse Market, said he was in the park to give his family a good time.
“There is no better time of having fun with the family than this time. It is a public holiday and you can see a lot of families are here to catch their fun.
“Even though fuel is scarce, fun is not scarce here; parents, children and even ground parents are all here catching their fun.
“You know transport fare has gone very high, so instead of spending so much on transport to go home for Christmas, it is better to come and enjoy in the park and be happy.
“We thank God for being alive to celebrate Christmas and we pray he keeps us alive to celebrate the next one. Nigeria will get better with time,” Emeka said.
Mr Paul Okoh, appreciates fun seekers whom he described as “wonderful people”.
“They know that ‘Magicland’ is the best place for kids and adult to catch their fun. We thank them.
“Our equipment never fail and our security is always alert to any eventuality. We will always try to make Abuja people happy and satisfy as they come to have fun in the park,” Okoh said.
At Monoliza Amusement Park located at Garki, Area 11, a fun seeker, Mrs Agatha Anchor, who is a civil servant, said it was not easy but the reason for the season is worthy of the celebration.
Anchor, who had a bumper car and horse ride with her two children said they were in the park to catch their fun for the Christmas.
“Whether fuel or no fuel, life goes on. The kids need to have fun, that is why we are here. We cannot dull ourselves in the house because fuel scarcity.
“It is a season to celebrate. Though it is not easy because things are hard now, but then the kids have to catch their fun.
“It is our duty as parents to bring them to the parks for the Christmas to make them happy,” Anchor said.
Another fun seeker, Mr. Abdullahi Usman, said he was in the park with his wife and two children to celebrate the Christmas.
“Even though I am a Muslim, we are all one Nigeria. It is a public holiday, I cannot keep my children at home. We have to join the Christians in the parks to also enjoy ourselves.
“Even with the fuel scarcity, you can see a lot of people in the park catching their fun. We thank God for everything,” Usman said.
Mr Kingsley Joseph, who sells ‘Cutting Candy’, said patronage is encouraging adding that “I foresee high sales.”
Malam Abdullahi Garba also known as ‘Baba Dogo’ Manager of the park expressed satisfaction with the patronage of fun seekers.
Garba said: “God is wonderful; I never thought large number of people will come out today because of the fuel scarcity, but you can see for yourself, crowd are trouping in.
“If you pray and leave the rest to God, He will surprise you. Nigeria is blessed. However, we need to pray for our leaders and also contribute our individual quota to nation building.
“Let us also pray to God to soften the heart of our leaders that are heartless, who do not see the sufferings of the people.
“I want to thank the media and the security agencies that are helping in enlightening and protecting the people,” Garba said.
The situation was not different at the Millennium Park, located near Transcorp Hilton in Maitama where fun seekers in their hundreds troupe in have fun.
NAN observed that due to the large crowd, fun seekers have to queue to enter the park with security personnel’s conducting searching at the gate.
Also, the parking lot of the park was filled. Fun seekers later used the unity fountain area to park their cars.
Mrs Barbra Timothy, a petty trader from Garki II in company of her four children brought food, drinks and a music player to catch their fun.
“My brother, today is Christmas, we need to thank God of the life and also enjoy the life in the park.
“As you can see, we are ready to catch our fun. Even though fuel is scarce, it did not show in the park because you can see people in their hundreds coming to have fun here.
“However, we must not also forget the reason for the season. It is all about love, but you need to love yourself to know how to love others.
“We are here. Let the fun begin. Thank you my brother,” Timothy said.
Malam Bala Abubakar, a horse-ride service provider, said he provided a horse ride for two hundred naira and to mount the horse and take photographs, he charged one hundred naira.
According to him, there is high patronage by fun seekers in the park.
“I am very busy with fun seekers wanting to ride while other want to mount and take pictures. Business is going in fine and I thank Allah for this.” (NAN)
By Yetunde Bada
Abuja, Dec. 22, 2017 (NAN) A combined team of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and security agents on Sunday uncovered illegal reservoirs of fuel in Abuja.
Speaking at the site of the mini depot, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru, said it was saddening to make such discoveries in the city center when less than 500 meters away, motorists were on endless queues.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that hundreds of jerry cans, 200-liter drums, and 500 liter tanks were uncovered in a sting operation by the team in the city center.
According to him, the perpetrators have caused untold pain and hardship on Nigerians during a crucial season as Christmas.
“In the war room (where crucial issues are discussed during fuel crises), we asked ourselves why the situation (fuel queues) persists.
“We got an intelligence report of these mini depots and as you can see, these golf cars that are supposed to have 40 litres have tanks that can take 200 liters of petrol.
“This other one is a mini depot. Although some of the products are diesel, the DPR says it is unauthorised. We have over 50 days supply of diesel and so there is no reason to hoard the product.’’
The Abuja Zonal Controller of DPR, Mr Mohammed Abba, told newsmen “we have arrested 20 people in connection with those who sell in jerry cans in Zone One alone and their facilities.
“We are handing them over to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, because the DPR has no capabilities to prosecute.
“We will test for forensic analysis and we will pursue the case to court’’.
Mr Aminu Abdullahi, Assistant Commandant-General Operations, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps while receiving the perpetrators confirmed receiving the 20 persons.
“We have received the suspects and DPR will be called in for forensic analysis to test what was handed over,’’ he said.
A survey of filling stations by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in the FCT revealed that motorists are lamenting the harsh conditions on fuel queues on Christmas Day.
Some of the filling stations visited by NAN were the NIPCO along Jabi, Oando in Zone 1, Texaco on the Airport Road and NNPC Mega Station along Zone 1 and on the Kubwa Expressway.
NAN reports that though there was presence of security agents in almost all stations visited, the queues were rowdy with angry commuters screaming themselves down.
NAN also reports that at the NNPC mega station, the rowdiness was caused by two cars on an illegal queue that blocked the main queue and insisted on entry.
The presence of three security agencies comprising a military man, a policeman and a civil defense man did nothing to intimidate the driver who kept saying ”It is sad that I have to be at a filling station today.
“My family is at home waiting for me to come and take them out. This is unfair, sad and cruel. This is my worst Christmas’’.
At Jabi, NAN reports that the security men were dressed to the hilt with helmets as if ready for chaos but there were still very long illegal lines blocking the exit to NIPCO.
A motorist, Mr Salau Agidingbi, told NAN, “it is these illegal queues that cause chaos during crisis such as these. they block flow of oncoming traffic, block the exit for drivers that have got fuel after queuing up for hours and want to be served immediately they get into the station”.
At Texaco, a pump attendant, who did not wish to be named, told NAN “we close at seven before because of security issues but because of the people traveling we have to extend our time till 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.
Another motorist, Celia Tamuno told NAN “this Christmas is horrible. See me here. It is annoying and the lines are so long. Other mothers are at Wonderland, other fun places and I’m here. This is heart-breaking’’.