Fuel Scarcity: Nigerians Recount Harrowing Experiences | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Fuel Scarcity: Nigerians Recount Harrowing Experiences

Posted: May 3, 2015 at 12:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Igoniko Oduma (Yenagoa), Yaqoub Popoola (Ado-Ekiti

The current petrol scarcity is biting harder in parts of the country with transporters and other users of the commodity spending hours in fuel stations.

Fuel scarcity nigeria

Fuel scarcity nigeria

From Lagos to Bayelsa; Ekiti to Osun, Edo and several other states, the story is the same, as the citizens continue to wonder why it should be so as the nation is one of the major exporter of petroleum products.

In Lagos and Ogun states, long queues were observes at fuel stations, with buyers besieging the points of sale with jerry cans, even as street urchins capitalise on the situation to sell at Black market, charging as much as N300 per litre.

Although the product is said to be fairly available in Bayelsa State in the past few weeks, investigations revealed that most of the petrol stations have failed to dispense fuel at the official pump price of N87 per litre.

This is as the price per litre also varies from one filling station to another.

For instance, a visit to some of the operators in Yenagoa and its environs showed that a litre of fuel was sold for N100, N105, N110 and N120, although the meters read N87.

Our correspondent observed that there were unusually long queues of vehicles at the only the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mega Filling Station on Sani Abacha Expressway, which still sells petrol at N87 per litre.

Some residents, who complained about the exorbitant price of fuel in the state, wondered why the government has refused to enforce the official price regime of N87 per litre.

“Another problem is that most of them (the operators) have badly adjusted their meters; so, you buy at a high cost that is not commensurate to the quantity sold”, lamented a vehicle owner, Markson Dauseye.

The Controller of Operations, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Yenagoa Office, Bassey Nkanga, said the agency was not resting on its oars in ensuring availability of fuel in the state.

On the high cost of petrol per litre, he absolved the operators of any blame, saying it reflects the market price at the fuel depot.

Reports from Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital show that the scarcity is biting harder as few motorists now ply the roads.

In the few filling stations where the commodity is available, commuters formed long queue as marketers sparingly dispensed the product.

In some cases, Sunday Independent observed that a maximum of 20 litres is sold to individuals.

The situation was compounded as the two NNPC stations located at Ikere and Secretariat road, as well as the Mega Station at Ado-Ekiti/Iworoko road were not dispensing fuel, even as nobody was ready to offer any explanation in this regard.

The commodity is hoever sold between N100 and N120 at filling stations like Best Option, Odo-Ado, Ekiti.

At some filling stations visited by Sunday Independent at the weekend, fuel is still not available, even as hopeful consumers mill around.

Our correspondent in Ado-Ekiti went through hell at a filling station at the popular Adebayo road, when the petrol attendants suddenly stopped dispensing fuel after commuters had waited for hours on the queue.

Investigations also revealed that some marketers now sell petrol at wee hours to some ‘special customers’ at higher costs.

In Osun State, the story is not different. Scarcity of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise kwon as petrol, is biting harder in Osogbo, the state capital and other major towns across the state.

Due to the scarcity, a litre of petrol, which now sells between N250 and N300 at black market, has worsened the economic condition of the residents, even as the workers in state’s public service yet to receive their salaries for four months.

Sunday Independent investigation in Osogbo at the weekend showed that a four litre keg of petrol now sells for as much as N1,600.

At press time, only about five filling stations in the entire Osogbo, the state capital, were dispensing petrol, thereby leading to long queues in these places.

In some of the filling stations, the situation was rowdy, even as some of the customers engage themselves in fisticuffs,leading to some sustaining injuries.

Most of the petrol attendants when accosted for hoarding fuel, they denied, saying that the product was not available.

They stressed that they could only dispense to the public the little quantity provided for them.

Although there was no official statement on the scarcity of petrol from the state government, it was observed that the situation has paralysed a lot of programmes and activities.

One of the independent markers in Benin city, Anthony Aghedo, said he was not surprised over the current situation because.

He said: “Since the beginning of this year, I have not received a full truck load of product in my filling station as three of us have been sharing a truck load of 33,000 litres at 11,000 litres each and it was not regular too as it was coming in an average of three to fours weeks”.

Aghedo said from their enquiries, they were told that the problem was caused by the non-payment of the importers by the NNPC.

It was also discovered that the few filling stations selling in Benin at the weekend are not ready to disclose their source of supply  as one them, along Airport road, was hostile to this reporter who posed such question to him.

A phone call to one of the staff of the Warri Refinery, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed that the refinery has not received a single barrel of crude product for refining since January to augment the imported ones, a development which contributed to the acute shortage.

According to him, “information reaching us here in Warri is that all crude oil being drilled in Nigerian shore have been paid for in advance by foreign refineries.

“It will take about three to four months for the local refinery to get product to refine, unless miracle happen, especially now that a new administration would be taking over from May 29.”