Fuel scarcity has once again resurfaced in major filling stations across Lagos and Abuja states despite repeated assurances of uninterrupted supplies by the Federal Government and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC).
Recall in the midst of the heat of the fuel scarcity in February, the NNPC through Mallam Mele Kyari, its Managing Director, promised Nigerians that it would end the scarcity in March by ensuring sufficient supply of petrol, nationwide. This was after NNPC’s promise to supply about 2.3 billion litres of PMS at the end of February.
PMS now sells between the official pump price of N165 and N170, depending on the state and filling station.
EnergyDay’s correspondents who monitored the situation in Lagos and Abuja on Thursday and early hours of Friday recorded queues across some parts of the areas visited. At a time of rising temperatures, motorists and people who wanted to buy petrol in plastic containers were seen scrambling to get petrol for their cars and electricity generators.
On Thursday, EnergyDay observed that fuel scarcity is ongoing at filling stations against the backdrop of a recent claim by one of the country’s oil sector regulators, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), that normalcy has been restored in the supply chain of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol.
EnergyDay’s checks at some filling stations in Lagos, however, revealed that petrol was still being hoarded even as the product was sold to consumers in jerry cans, as at Thursday evening.
At 8:20pm, the Enyo Filling Station along the Lekki-Epe Expressway stopped dispensing fuel to motorists, asking them to return the following day. In a quick chat with one of the motorists who preferred his name be undisclosed, EnergyDay gathered that one of the attendants at the filling station was instructed to stop selling while he was still refilling a vehicle’s fuel tank.
At Total Filling Station in Toyin, Ikeja, black marketers kept on with their operations, taking advantage of those who feared that petrol may not be available for purchase at some point if they kept on standing in the queues.
EnergyDay’s correspondent visited Petrocam Filling Station at Elf Bus Stop, Lekki, where he observed that PMS was openly being sold to people in jerry cans, contrary to claims made by the regulatory body. The case was similar at MRS Filling Station, Ikate, Lekki. The product was being dispensed into jerry cans as operations for the day were stopped by the management of the filling station around 9 p.m.
Our correspondent who visited Ikotun, Lagos, saw several long queues of people with petrol kegs and motorists waiting to purchase PMS. Long queues of vehicles causing gridlocks on the popular Obafemi Awolowo Road was also noticed, as filling stations were either closed or simply dormant.
EnergyDay gathered that the scarcity is equally affecting people living in the Federal Capital Territory as commuters bemoaned their tough experience while searching for vehicles to convey them to their destination.
Daddy Chidubem said, “This (fuel) scarcity in Abuja is really crazy. I had spent over an hour and a half waiting for a bus at Berger the day before. It took my Oshodi-type smartness to succeed in getting a bus to bring me down to Kubwa. And now, I am facing the same challenge again. ”
Owoedi-Inyene Goddey said, “This scarcity of fuel in Abuja is affecting me so much. I have been standing on this road for over an hour just trying to get a cab to work. Now, I am so tired of waiting. I wonder how people in other states are coping with this. ”
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday, Roselyn Wilkie, NMDPRA’s Abuja Zonal Operations Controller, said that the regulatory body, through its distribution strategy, has restored normalcy in the distribution of PMS, thereby halting the fuel scarcity in the country, which has lasted for more than a month.
Wilkie said that long queues at fuelling stations across the country had disappeared due to a deliberate increase in PMS supply and distribution.
She noted that there is presently no hoarding or dispensing of petrol into kegs at filling stations across the country.