Though it could not be distinguished on Monday whether the queues were as a result of panic buying or real fuel scarcity, motorists were, however, seen making desperate attempts to get petrol in some filling stations on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi and the Elegushi area of Victoria Island as well as on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Our correspondent, who monitored the situation, also found out that most of the filling stations had limited product dispensing from one or two pumps in anticipation of a full blown scarcity.
While no one was sure of the state of fuel supply in the country as of press time on Monday, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association and the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria have continued to disagree over the availability or otherwise of petrol in the country.
While IPMAN dismissed the threat of another round of fuel scarcity, MOMAN said the non-release of import allocations for the first quarter of 2014 was already putting pressure on the available stock and warned that this could lead to scarcity soon.
MOMAN, which comprises Oando, Total, Forte Oil, MRS, Mobil and Conoil, supplies 60 per cent of the national petroleum products’ demand, while IPMAN members control about 87 per cent of fuel retail outlets in the country.
The National President, IPMAN, Alhaji Aminu Abdulkadri, had recently advised the general public to avoid panic buying, while insisting that there was no scarcity of petroleum products.
An IPMAN member, who asked not to be named, said on Monday that there was smooth supply of products in the country.
However, MOMAN said the delay by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency to release the first quarter import allocations was already putting pressure on the available fuel in stock and that depots owned by the major marketers were already drying up.
The Executive Secretary, MOMAN, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, had said last week, “There will be fuel scarcity in the country if the major marketers’ supply is not replenished because we account for 60 per cent of the national product demand across the country.”
The MOMAN boss appealed to the PPPRA to promptly release the import allocations for the first quarter of the year.
If this is not done before the middle of February, Olawore predicted that the entire nation would witness another round of fuel scarcity.
A MOMAN source, who asked not to be named, was affirmative of an impending fuel scarcity but said he would rather remain anonymous over the issue because of IPMAN.
When contacted, the Chairman, South-West chapter, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Mr. Tokunbo Korodo, said, “Yes, there is shortfall in the distribution of fuel as the System 2B of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation/Petroleum Product Marketing Company is down as a result of oil spillage in Lagos, which made pumping to other outlets impossible, while some private tank farms with little fuel are rationing fuel.”
– The Punch