There seems to be no respite to the fuel crisis situation in the country, as the scarcity continued unabated, weekend, in Lagos Abuja, Nasarawa and environs.
A man carries jerrycans to search for fuel in Lagos..
This is happening despite the assurance given by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, that there is enough stock of petrol.
Vanguard learnt that the situation was made worse by the agitation of independent marketers that the Federal Government needs to pay them the more than N250 billion they claimed to be owed.
The marketers were said to be apprehensive that the Buhari administration may end up not paying them as they claimed. They, therefore, deem it necessary to arm twist the government.
To make good their threat, they have resorted to hoarding the product, thereby creating artificial scarcity. Most filling stations now open at night and sell at N100 per litre.
Techno, Oando and MRS filling stations on Ojodu-Abiodun road, by Ojodu Berger area of Lagos were seen closed as at the time Vanguard visited. Vehicles were seen packed hoping to get the product, while the attendants refused to comment on the situation.
Similar long queues were seen at Mobil, Conoil, at the tollgate end of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, as well as Texaco and MRS at Ojota area of Lagos. Also, the NNPC station at Second Rainbow bus stop on the ever busy Mile 2-Oshodi expressway was closed to motorists who went to buy products. The same is applicable to all other fillings stations between First Rainbow and Mile 2.
The long queues that had been a constant phenomenon in the few petrol stations selling the products in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, remained, as motorists spent a minimum of six hours on the queue before they could get the products to buy.
Some of the petrol stations, such as MRS, along the Kubwa Expressway, was seen selling with only two pumps, despite the fact that when Vanguard visited the station, it just finished taking delivery of a truck-load of petrol.
Also, at the NNPC Mega Station, along the Kubwa Expressway, officials of the fuel station were seen conniving with security officials, to collect N1,000 each from impatient motorists who refused to join the queues. The motorists are then allowed into the station through the exit gate to purchase the product at the detriment of other law-abiding motorists who had been on the queue for hours.
Again, a number of fuel stations in Kubwa, Lugbe and the Central Business District, which had been shut down throughout the day, were seen in the wee hours of the night, selling to individuals and black market operators in drums and plastic containers.
This was even as the black marketers continued to have a field day, displaying their wares at major highways in Abuja and environs. The black marketers, who sell their products at between N180 to N250 per litre, were seen at almost all the petrol stations in Abuja, selling to motorists who did not want to join the long queues.
Motorists express concern
Motorists who spoke to Vanguard expressed concern over the perennial fuel scarcity and wondered why the Federal Government is yet to make any serious pronouncement about the situation.
One of the motorists, Mr. Chisom Nnamdi, lamented that the fuel crisis is taking a toll on the lives of citizens, stating that getting fuel to buy from the petrol stations is gradually becoming an herculean task.
According to him, Nigerians are gradually running out of patience with President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that it is high time the President took a decisive step towards addressing the fuel situation which has lingered for too long and is gradually becoming a national embarrassment.
We ‘re working to arrest situation —NNPC
However, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, told Vanguard that the corporation is doing all within its powers to arrest the situation.
He expressed optimism that the fuel situation will stabilise from today (Monday), adding that the NNPC has been constantly supplying fuel across the country, both to its retail outlets and some major and independent petroleum marketers. He said the NNPC has resolved to publish data of its fuel supply to marketers on a daily basis, in a bid to update Nigerians on the situation of things.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has also claimed that 188 truckloads of fuel, an equivalent of 6.2 million litres of petrol had been supplied to Abuja to ease off the fuel queue in the city.
Mohammed Saidu, Spokesperson of the DPR in Abuja, had blamed the re-emergence of fuel queues in petrol stations to a drop in the lifting of fuel by marketers from Suleja depot.
He stated that there had been a shortfall in products supply, adding that with the increase in the supply of more than six million litres towards the end of last week, the queues at filling stations would soon disappear.
He argued that there was no reason why marketers would want to hoard fuel when the product is available. Saidu, however, warned that any marketer caught indulging in hoarding, under-dispensing, or cheating motorists in any form would be made to face wrath of the law.