Fuel scarcity paralyses activities in Nigeria
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Fuel scarcity paralyses activities in Nigeria

Posted MOHAMMED MOMOH in Abuja

on  Thursday, December 7   2017 at  11:47

The scarcity of petrol has paralysed business and commercial activities in Nigeria’s major cities.

The queues that started forming early in the week have become a worse, as motorists sleep at petrol stations hoping to replenish their supplies.

Nigerians woke up Monday to forming queues at petrol stations in Lagos, Abuja, Jos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Kaduna.

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has promised adequate fuel supply during the Christmas period and beyond, but motorists have not been convinced.

In Abuja, the federal capital, long queues adorned virtually all the petrol stations that opened for business as many others shut their pumps, for lack of supplies.

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A civil servant, Mrs Hannah Mshelia, said: ”I was on my way to work this morning and I saw a little queue at the Conoil opposite NNPC towers.

”I decided to top-up my fuel because you don’t know what may happen later in the day.”

Ms Msheila confirmed that though she had heard of abundant supplies at the depots from the news, she still had to buy ”just in case”.

In the commercial capital Lagos, many commuters had resorted to trekking long distances because of scarcity of commercial vehicle services, due to their inability to access petrol.

In Sokoto metropolis in the north, the queues which started two days ago, became worse on Thursday morning.

Official price

Some of the filling stations belonging to the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) have increased the price of a litre of petrol from $0.4 (N145) to $0.42 (N150).

At the NNPC and other filling stations run by major marketers, the queues were longer, as they maintained the official price of $0.4 per litre.

Some motorists on queue urged the government to act fast to avert a major problem.

“We were happy that fuel scarcity during the yuletide had become history, only for the problem to resurface now,’’ Mr Hakeem Yakubu, said.

“Efforts must be made to curb the problem; especially with the current socio-economic realities in the country,’’ a motorist, Mr Sifawa Ahmad, advised.

Another motorist, Ms Mary Onya, said the situation was a cause for concern and the government must take immediate action.

Panic buying

NNPC spokesperson Ndu Ughamadu advised Abuja residents to stop panic buying and reiterated that there was enough fuel in the nation’s depots.

He said there was no plan whatsoever to increase the prices of petroleum products both at the ex-depot level and pump price.

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Kacalla Baru, has cut short his trip to London, as concerns increased over fuel queues nationwide.

Dr Baru, who was billed to receive the Forbes Oil & Gas Man of the Year Award 2017 in the British Capital on Tuesday, flew back home to attend to what he described as a “matter of urgent national importance”.

He also appealed to Nigerians to stop panic buying as the corporation was doing everything within its capacity to address the situation.

The Senate also summoned Dr Baru to explain the circumstances leading to the emergence of queues in spite of efforts to revitalise the four refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna.

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) had earlier warned that its members would go on strike from December 11.

IPMAN Lagos Chapter on November 29 threatened to withdraw its services over NNPC’s breach of bulk purchase agreement.

The association chairman, Mr Alanamu Balogun, said it was set for a showdown with NNPC over irregular fuel supply at Ejigbo satellite depot.