Fuel scarcity is fast spreading across the states resulting in long queues at filling stations, even as the price of the commodity soared to between N160 – N180 per litre, Daily Trust findings revealed.
Long queues have surfaced in dozen states that included the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Kano, Lagos, Sokoto, Katsina, Borno, Kwara, Anambra, Delta, Kaduna, with the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) selling far above the N145 per litre official benchmark.
In Kano State, for instance, the scarcity is already biting hard as President Muhammadu Buhari begins his two-day working visit today.
Daily Trust observed that motorists and other petrol users started experiencing fuel scarcity in the state metropolis since last Friday even though its price stood at N143 per liter.
Our reporters’ findings at the metropolis showed that many filling stations were under lock due to lack of fuel, while the few that have the commodity were battling with customers.
A motorist, Muhammad Auwal said “it is very unfortunate that Kano is experiencing fuel scarcity at the time President Muhammadu Buhari is visiting the state.”
The Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Kano state branch, Alhaji Ahmad Bashir Danmalam, said the scarcity was caused by private refineries that stopped the supply of the community to the state a few days ago.
“In addition to the shortage of supply, the private refineries have increased its price from N133 to N143. However, we were able to secure more supplies from Warri and Port-Harcourt refineries to address the situation. As am speaking to you now, 50 trucks are loading from Kano depot for onward distribution to various filling stations across the state,” he said.
The situation was precarious in Kwara State as members of IPMAN threatened to shut down their filling stations if the federal government did not caution private depot owners selling petrol above the regulated prices to their members.
The association lamented that only three trucks are being loaded for them in Ibadan Depot while Massimi Depot has also reduced the number of products sent to Ilorin.
The chairman of IPMAN in Kwara, Alhaji Okanlawon Olanrewaju told journalists that “As I speak to you now, PMS is sold between N142 and N143 at private depots to our members and when we add N6 to it, that is already more than the approved price by the government.”
Long queues are already building up in Anambra State as the commodity is now selling N155 per litre in Awka, the state capital.
In Onitsha, the commercial city, most of the petrol stations visited had no queues but were selling at N150, while some sold at N155 per litre.
In Maiduguri metropolis, the scarcity was so serious in the last three days, with most filling stations, especially the major marketers not dispensing fuel.
The pump price, which used to be between N120 and N130 in most filling stations, dramatically rose yesterday in most of the independent marketers’ stations to between N160and N180.
Most motorists believe the commodity is deliberately hoarded by the marketers in anticipation of its pump price hike next year.
Our correspondents in Kaduna said there were long queues in major filling stations in the state capital.
In Katsina, queues were observed in many filling stations in the metropolis yesterday morning but by late evening, the queues had disappeared.
The queues resulted from most fuel stations not dispensing the commodity.
In Funtua, the situation was worse as virtually all motorists have resorted to the black market for the commodity.
A car owner, Lawal Saidu, said he purchased a gallon for N900 on the roadside after going round most filling stations without finding the product.
In Lagos State, petrol is still being sold at N145 per litre and N143 per litre in some Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)’s outlets in Lagos metropolis.
Most of the filling stations belonging to independent marketers shut their gates against customers while major oil marketers’ outlets that opened for business were besieged with long queue by anxious motorists.
Virtually all the filling stations visited yesterday were dispensing fuel from one or two pumps, shutting down other pumps, thereby creating panic as motorists waited for long hours before getting the product.
In Abuja, fuel queues ripped through major fuel stations in Abuja yesterday like other state capitals, with black marketers selling the product inside jerry cans.
Supply gap from NNPC – Unions
The Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) has accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of not having adequate petrol to meet the consumption needs of Nigerians.
Speaking with Daily Trust in Lagos yesterday, DAPPMA executive secretary, Mr Olufemi Adewole, said there was currently supply gap from NNPC, forcing independent marketers to rush to private fuel importers for supply.
He also denied the allegation of DAPPMA members selling above the ex-depot price of N133.28 per litre. An investigation revealed that all depots in Apapa sell petrol above the ex-depot price of N133.28k.
Adewole said, “We are not selling above the official price. We sell what we have. Unfortunately, NNPC could not meet all the needs. They could no longer get from NNPC’s depots, now they are accusing us. The same reason NNPC’s depots could not meet their needs is the same reason why DAPPMA could not meet their needs.”
De- Jones sells at N139, Fatgbems N140, Folawiyo N138.50, Obat N141, Sahara N140, Stallonire N141, Swift N141, Chipet N141.50, and NIPCO N138, our reporters said.
The IPMAN, Western zone had last week urged the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and NNPC to clamped down private depots selling petrol above the ex-depot price of N 133.28k.
Alhaji Debo Ahmed, the western zone chairman of IPMAN said that the shutdown of private depots selling petrol above government approved price became necessary against the backdrop of the association’s threat to withdraw its services across Lagos State and part of Ogun State as from December 11.
The major oil marketers and DAPPMA are currently being owed over $2 billion since 2015. The money was said to have been borrowed from the banks to finance fuel import.
We have enough fuel in stock – NNPC
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru said yesterday in a statement that the corporation was doing everything within its reach to address the situation.
“I wish to call on all Nigerians to stop panic buying. We have said times without number that NNPC has sufficient products to cater for the needs of all consumers,” Baru said in the statement.
He said more truckload of petroleum products have been directed to be dispatched to various parts of the country to cushion the effects of excessive demand caused by panic buying.
Senate summons NNPC boss
The Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream has summoned the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Maikanti Baru, over fears of fuel scarcity in the country.
Speaking after an investigative hearing on the matter yesterday, Chairman of the committee, Senator Kabiru Marafa, said the NNPC boss is to appear before the committee tomorrow.
He said “Immediately the issue came up, we contacted NNPC to know the situation of things and we were told that the rumours were unfounded and that they have written rejoinders to that effect.
“However, given the seriousness of the matter, we decided to invite the GMD to come and brief on the development and to enable Nigerians know the situation of things.
“Unfortunately he wrote informing us of his inability to honour the invitation.
“We hope he will be back by Thursday to tell Nigerians the true situation. Even if he cannot make it he can send people that are in good authority to speak on his behalf.”
Marafa said the committee will also embark on oversight of filling stations across the country to check cases of fuel hoarding by petrol dealers.
Additional reporting by Uthman Abubakar (Maiduguri), Andrew Agbese & Faruk Shuaib (Kaduna), Emma Elekwa (Awka), Habibu Umar Aminu (Katsina), Daniel Adugbo (Abuja), Victor Sorokwu (Asaba), & Hameed Oyegbade (Osogbo).