Panic in the air as fuel scarcity hit Nigerians nationwide

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Following the declaration of service withdrawal by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, there has been a nationwide tension as regards fuel availability to consumers.

The fuel scarcity situation which was initially at the stage of speculation, was worsened after IPMAN threatened to effect their action on Monday, December 11, 2017.

As at the time of gathering this report, reporters gathered that none of the three filling stations in Ikeja, specifically Total, Conoil and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mega station along Kudirat Abiola Way, was apportioning fuel to the public.

At Total and Conoil stations, service attendants, who said they had no stock of products to sell to their customers, blamed the situation on the activities of fuel hoarders.

However, outside the NNPC station, there was a long queue of motorists, with only few cars being attended to inside.

“I hope this situation does not get out of hand in the days ahead,” a tricycle operator on the queue, who identified himself simply as Sylvester lamented. “The government should sort out whatever issue there is with the marketers to make fuel available.”

It is pertinent to note that quite a number of filling stations on the mainland and island parts of Lagos, remained shut, with the impact already reflecting on transport fares.

In the Falomo area of Ikoyi axis, there was a long queue of vehicles waiting to be served, despite the opening of the NNPC filling station.

According to some intending consumers, many other stations in the area had either hiked their prices, or refused to open their facilities to the public.

“They are still selling at N143 per litre at NNPC,” a commercial bus driver, who identified himself simply as “Super”, disclosed.

“Others have already raised the price to N150 per litre, while others are not even selling,” a resident who declined to disclose his name added.

The fuel availability condition in Uyo, Akwa Ibom’s capital and environs was quite alarming, as most filling stations have raised their pump price from N145, which is the usual to N150 per litre.

In a notice to customers, Petrosen, an independent marketer’s filling station, along Oron Road, said the fuel price increment was a result of alleged hike in the ex-depot price of fuel to marketers at the Port Harcourt products storage facility.

A petrol dealer in Port Harcourt, however, revealed that there was scarcity at the NNPC fuel depot in Eleme.

“But you can easily see people trading on black market around the depot, especially those lifting products to Akwa Ibom State,” the dealer said. “They buy it at about N148 in the black market.”

 

If information available is anything to go by, petrol is currently selling at N145 at filling stations around Port Harcourt, while at the outskirts of the city, it is slightly higher, at N146 per litre.

While most filling stations were running their businesses with no signs of fuel scarcity, at Conoil filling station, along Nnamdi Azikiwe Express Way, Area 1, only few vehicles were waiting to be served.

The situation outside the NNPC Mega Filling station along Olusegun Obasanjo way, Central Business District, was different, with a lengthy queue of motorists stretching about 300 metres long.

One of the motorists on the queue, who said he came all the way from Kubwa to buy fuel, said the queue began building up since last Saturday apparently following reports of an impending nationwide strike by marketers.

“The situation has been bad since Saturday. I could not get fuel to buy from the filling stations in my area, except from the black marketers”, he said.

Reacting to the fuel scarcity tension, Ndu Ughamadu, an NNPC spokesperson, the queues at some filling stations were as a result of panic buying by consumers.

Ugbamadu maintained that the corporation has adequate stock of fuel in its depot, and has also supplied marketers enough to meet consumers’ demand throughout the yuletide period and beyond.

Ughamadu said, “The fuel queues witnessed in some parts of the country is due to panic buying by motorists. We have assured the people that the NNPC has sufficient stock of petroleum products to last throughout the coming festive season and beyond.

“Besides, before the GMD (Group Managing Director) traveled out of the country last week, he ordered that more cargoes be supplied to both Lagos and Abuja areas. On his return, he repeated the directive, to ensure that the situation is brought under control as soon as possible.”

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