Ijegun oil spill to blame for fuel scarcity in Lagos

Oil spill impacted site20 February 2014, Lagos – Petroleum industry officials yesterday blamed the worsening fuel scarcity  across the Lagos metropolis on the recent oil spill at the Ijegun area of the state .

The spill had   flooded over 300 houses in the area, forcing the officials of the  Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC)  to lock the valve so as to forestall further spill.

The arising shortfall in the supply of the product had triggered a wave of scarcity, making many to embark on panic buying of the product.

The spill was as a result of a ruptured Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline which released many litres of petrol into the streets of Ijegun Imore behind Navy Town and   Statellite Town, Lagos.

The spokesperson, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), South-west zone, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, said the incident would have been a huge disaster if the residents had gone to scoop the free-flowing fuel.

Although immediate repairs on the pipelines were carried out by two teams of NNPC personnel who were deployed to the area, the petrol had already seeped deep into the ground.

But government officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told THISDAY that the scarcity of fuel could be attributed to the aftermath of the spill.

He said: “When the community alerted NNPC of the spill. They were forced to shut down production in order to carry out repairs. They stopped pumping products.

“The products that are in the market were those already in the pipeline. Once the valves were shut off, repairs began in order to restore the pipeline back to order.

“When the marketers discovered what has happened, they started hoarding products because they are not sure when or where they would get products to buy.

“That hoarding of products is what is manifesting today as fuel scarcity. But that would soon end because once NNPC starts pumping again, we can assure you that products would be back to the market.”

Some of the officials of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), met at the site of the spill and confirmed that massive clean up has begun, adding that the oil sheen was merely the residue that had seeped into the ground.

It was gathered that initially, the PPMC, a subsidiary of the NNPC, had visited and scooped some of the spilled products into their tankers.

Many Lagosians were jolted when they suddenly could not find petrol to buy easily, since last week
THISDAY checks at different filling stations in Lagos,  saw motorists in their large numbers queuing up to purchase fuel with all the confusion that go with it.

Checks also revealed that the ripple effect of the scarcity is already being felt by Lagosians as large number of stranded passengers were seen at the various bus stops in the metropolis.
As is often the case, the few stations which dispensed the product sought for extra gratification from the desperate buyers.

For commercial bus drivers who were forced to buy fuel from the black marketers at exorbitant prices, they simply recuperated their extra expenses from passengers by hiking the fares.

Speaking to THISDAY, Mr. Chubuike Onuigbo, a motorist found at one of the filling stations at Okota, a suburb of Lagos said he had queued for over an hour before he could fill his tank.

He called on the regulatory agencies like the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) saddled with responsibility of ensuring that fuel is dispensed and sold at the appropriate price to rise up to the challenge and check the illegalities perpetrated in the filling stations.


– Chiemelie Ezeobi, This Day



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