Fuel scarcity bites harder

Fuel scarcity02 March 2014, Lagos – Motorists and commuters across the land could not have had a worst weekend than this as more filling stations ran out of supply on Sunday.

And where fuel was available, the price was outrageous, ranging from N105 to N250 per litre.

The immediate effects were long queues at such filling stations, scarcity of vehicles for commuters and exorbitant transport fates.

It was not clear when the situation might improve.

Many motorists in Lagos spent much of yesterday looking for fuel to buy.

They had to queue at fillings stations, and where such queues extended to highways as it happened in many cases, the result was traffic jam.

Many people who, had social engagements had had to cancel such so that they might not burn the petrol they had already.

The situation also left motorists in Ado Ekiti spending endless hours at the few filling stations which have product to sell yesterday.

Some petrol stations claimed that they had exhausted their supply and they the few ones that were selling did so for prices ranging between N110 and N115 per litre.

The situation has forced a hike in transport fares to destinations within and outside the state.

Commercial motorcycle operators have also increased their fares by about 28 per cent.

There was no queue for fuel in Enugu, although transport fares went up by between 50 and 70 percent depending on the distance.

Black market operators are having a field day in Makurdi and environs, capitalising on the furl scarcity to increase prices.

They charge between N180 and N220 per litre.

Some motorists said they joined the queue at the NNPC mega station on the Makurdi- Otukpo road as early as 4am to buy fuel and ended up getting only 20 litres, the maximum quantity approved for each motorist at the control price of 97 naira per litre.

Thousands of commuters were stranded in Benin on the account of the fuel scarcity.

Queues formed by motorists at some filling stations were up to one kilometre.

The situation was particularly bad in Port Harcourt where almost all the petrol stations claimed to have run out of supply.

This has left the black market thriving.

The State Government had to step in, sealing off two filling stations, Oando and Conoil, in Eleme Local Government Area of the state for allegedly hoarding petroleum products.

The Commissioner for Energy and Natural Resources, Mr. Okey Amadi, alleged that the affected filling stations, apart from hoarding petroleum products, were also involved in fraudulent meter adjustment.

Commuters in Awka, the Anambra State capital pleaded with government to find an immediate solution to the problem.

They said the prices they are being forced to pay for petrol were beyond their means.

Calabar was like a ghost town as many vehicles were off the road owing to the fuel scarcity.

Only the NNPC mega station had the product which it sold at the control price of N97. The queue at the station was several kilometres long.

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) chairman in Cross River State, Michael Udofia, said they were not hoarding petrol as being speculated.

He said:”We don’t have any product. Even throughout the Christmas period, there was no scarcity. Even then when there were so much activities, petrol was not hoarded. So why should we hoard it now. For the past two years we have not had scarcity. So this is not our making.

“We have about 14 depots in the city and none of them is working. Even the NNPC depot was not working. So we have not been supplied with the product and that is why there is scarcity.”

The situation was not different in Bayelsa and Delta States.

Transport fares from and to the commercial city of Onitsha have jumped up caused by the fuel scarcity.

Some Lagos residents urged the Federal Government to address the lingering fuel scarcity in the state, to make life more meaningful for the people.

The residents told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that commuters now wasted a lot of time at bus stops as the fuel crisis takes a turn for the worse.

Fuel queues were long at some filling stations, slowing down traffic on major highways.

An artisan, Mr Yusuf Ismaila, told NAN that he was at a filling station for over two hours and was not been able to buy fuel.

“I do not know why we suffer for basically everything in this country.

“There is no frequent power supply and now that we have a generator to use, getting fuel is also a problem.

“I have been on the queue for over two hours,” he said.

Ismaila advised government to tackle the fuel shortage and to also address the epileptic power supply in the country.

A commercial bus driver, Mr. Jare Olawale, said it was unfortunate that Nigerians were experiencing fuel shortage at this point in time.

He said the scarcity had encouraged sharp practices by filling station attendants, who now made brisk business.

He said that a litre of petrol now attracts over N100 at some filling stations against the official price of N97.

“I have been on this queue for about an hour before I was able to buy petrol. This is very bad,’’ Olawale said.

A businessman, Wale Shogeyinbo, said he was not happy with the fuel scarcity as it had disrupted his business.

“As a businessman, I operate a viewing centre, where you can watch football and play games but now, the business is affected because of scarcity of fuel,” he lamented.

A lawyer, Mr. Andrew Rotimi, expressed disappointment over the lingering fuel shortage in the country.

NAN checks indicated that commuters now pay more with a trip from Ikotun to CMS on Lagos Island, which used to cost N300 now attracting between N350 and N400.

Some attendants at the stations told NAN on condition of anonymity that they were selling at the price they got the new stock, which they said, was now higher.


– The Nation

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