The scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol in Abuja, Nasarawa, Niger and some other states in the North and around the country may linger till Monday or Tuesday following the shortage of PMS supply to the region, oil marketers stated on Friday.

Fuel queues began to resurface again on Thursday, leaving many motorists wondering what could be wrong.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited had said some supply issues were responsible for the queues, urging customers to exercise patience.

This has also led to a dramatic hike in the price of PMS in several parts of the country.

Several filling stations in Lagos hiked the price of PMS to over N700 per litre.

A resident, Tomisin Bakare, who said he bought PMS from a filling station around the Lagos State University-Igando axis stated that he was shocked when the attendant said fuel was now N700 per litre.

“This is after I had already spent over 50 minutes on the queue,” he quipped.

A bus driver, who gave his name only as Oga Iba, said he had to wake up early to get the product but was shocked to meet a queue there.

“They sold it for N690 to me along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. I went back this afternoon to refill and they said it was N710. Some of the stations, I learnt, even sold for N715 and N720 per litre,” he said.

In Imo and Anambra states, multiple sources confirmed to one of our correspondents that filling stations with products hiked their prices to as high as N800 per litre.

N1300 in Kaduna

In Kaduna State, most fuel stations were not selling petrol as a result of scarcity of the commodity, which was causing hardship for residents.

The few stations that were dispensing had their pump price hiked to between N750 and N800, while the activities of black marketers boomed, with some of them selling a litre of the product for as much as N1300.

Our correspondent who monitored the situation in Kaduna-North Local Government Area, observed that some fuel stations adjusted their pumps to dispense the products at between N750 and N800 per litre.

The development forced many commuters to resort to trekking to their various destinations, with commercial transport operators capitalising on the hardship to increase transport fares.

A resident, Danjuma Mugu, told one of our correspondents that before the scarcity, he paid N100 as the fare from Gwari road to Karji junction but as of the time of this report, it cost between N250 and N300.

“I ply this route daily to school and pay a fare of N100, but this morning, I have to cough out between N250 and N300,” he said, adding that he had to pay an extra N250 to get to his destination, the Kaduna State University.

Queues grow in Abuja

In Abuja, motorists in the Federal Capital Territory grappled with long queues at fuel stations.

At the Bwari Area Council of the FCT, our correspondent witnessed heavy lines of cars and other consumers at the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited station.

Some of the motorists who spoke to Saturday PUNCH expressed frustration, having waited for over two hours to access the fuel station due to the extended queues.

A motorist, who preferred not to be named, said, “I have been here since a few minutes past 9am, and it’s now 11:30am. Yet, I haven’t been able to purchase fuel. My mother called me; she needs to go to the market, and we’re already delayed because of this queue.”

Another motorist explained that he endured the wait due to the price difference between the NNPC station and other fuel outlets.

He said, “I’ve been here for more than two hours. They had been selling fuel only from one pump. Fortunately, the second pump is now open, making things faster.”

Our correspondent noted that the station was selling fuel to customers at N617 per litre.

However, Saturday PUNCH gathered that a vessel commenced the discharge of petrol in Warri, Delta State, on Friday where most tankers that service the northern region load products from.

Dealers told our correspondent that the discharge from the vessel would be completed on Friday, while tankers might begin to load on Saturday or Sunday before transporting the product to Abuja and other states.

They explained that until the tankers began to arrive in the Federal Capital Territory from Monday or Tuesday, the scarcity of petrol as well as queues for the commodity at filling stations would linger.

Abuja, Nasarawa, Niger, Sokoto, Gombe and some other states in the North have been suffering from fuel scarcity since Monday. The situation grew worse on Wednesday and remained so till Friday.

Oil marketers had told our correspondent that the scarcity was due to the shortage in PMS supply, as they revealed that the retail subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited held a meeting with dealers on Thursday regarding the issue.

But despite the meeting, the queues continued on Friday, as petrol scarcity worsened, making the few outlets that had the commodity hike their pump prices to between N690/litre to N710/litre in Abuja.

Salbas filling station along the Kubwa-Zuba expressway, for instance, dispensed petrol at N690/litre on Friday and still had massive queues of motorists because many other outlets were closed.

Similarly, on Friday, the Royal Arms filling station on the Zuba end of the same expressway sold petrol at N710/litre. It also had long queues of motorists who seemed to have limited choices despite the high price.

The cost of petrol at NNPC retail stations was N617/litre, but most of their outlets hardly dispensed products due to the scarcity.

“NNPC Retail just told us that they had problems with logistics and they didn’t give us details about this. But I’m sure it will have to do with their supply network,” the National Secretary of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, John Kekeocha, told our correspondent when asked about the outcome of Thursday’s meeting.

He added, “However, as we speak, a vessel is discharging in Warri and they may start loading tankers by tomorrow or the day after. Most of the trucks from Abuja and the Northern states go to Warri to load.

“By Monday or Tuesday, the queues should start clearing, but before then, we are going to be seeing queues due to the shortage in the supply of PMS to Abuja and other states in the North.”

Kekeocha had earlier stated that scarcity in the North was due to PMS supply shortage in the region.

“It is obvious that there is a supply shortage in Abuja and other states that are close to the FCT (Federal Capital Territory).

“This is the reason many filling stations in these areas are not selling PMS, which, of course, has led to the serious queues you see in the few ones that are dispensing the product,” he stated.

NNPC had earlier blamed the fuel scarcity on issues around logistics but stated that it had resolved the problem.

The Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC, Olufemi Soneye, also urged motorists not to be involved in panic buying, because the national oil company and sole importer of petrol had enough products.

Soneye had said, “The NNPC Limited wishes to clarify that the tightness in the supply of Premium Motor Spirit currently being experienced in some areas across the country is a result of logistics issues, and they have been resolved.

“It also wishes to reiterate that the prices of petroleum products are not changing. It urges Nigerians to avoid panic buying as products are sufficient in the country.”

Additional reports: Daniel Ayantoye, Muhammed Lawal, Ayoola Olasupo,  Godwin Isenyo, Daniel Adaji and Bankole Taiwo.




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