10 April 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Motorists in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have resorted to panic buying, amidst worsening fuel scarcity in and around Abuja, ahead of the April 11 Gubernatorial elections across the country.
The fuel scarcity that resurfaced in the city this week is biting harder as cars queue for hours at filling stations in search of fuel.
The fuel queues had disappeared from the stations immediately after March 28 elections, however, the queues resurfaced on Monday in some of the stations, and by Tuesday night, as well in some places in Wednesday, the number of the queues in the city, had increased.
It was observed that most of the filling stations that were having fuel before the Easter break had become dried.
Many commuters were stranded at different bus stops due to lack of commercial vehicles while the few ones that were plying the road jerked up their fare by over a 100 per cent.
Hawkers of petrol in jerry cans cashed in on the scarcity and sold the product between N150 and N200 per litre, depending on bargain power.
Many obscure filling stations, especially in Suleja and on Zuba-Gwagwalada Road, sold the product between N110 and N120 per litre which is far above the regulated rate.
Only petrol filling stations within the city and those belonging to major marketers in other areas dispensed petrol at the stipulated N87 per litre.
At the NNPC mega station on Olusegun Obasanjo Way, Central Area, long queues of vehicles were on three lanes, blocking the entire road and forcing motorists to drive against the traffic.
The situation was also the same at the Forte Oil, adjacent the NNPC mega station, where the queue stretched to the UAC fence early in the morning but later stopped selling.
The ConOil and Total filling stations opposite NNPC Headquarters were also selling with long queues.
The queue formed a circle round through the Bureau of Statistics Complex to the Unity Bank building back to NNPC Towers, Abuja.
ConOil station, NNPC franchised station and another private filling station on Olusegun Obasanjo way were not selling.
Most of the filling stations on Obafemi Awolowo Way were dried, except Oando at the junction of Wuse Zone 6, Mobil at Arab Junction and Eterna Oil filling station.
The situation was not different with most filling stations on Airport Road, AYA, Maraba, Kubwa , Suleja and other neighbouring towns.
Most motorists said they were having difficult time at filling stations before they could get fuel to buy.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had attributed the situation to panic buying.
The NNPC spokesperson, Mr. Ohi Alegbe had in a statement earlier, cautioned motorists against panic buying and stockpiling the products.
He said there was enough fuel in the stock that could last for months. Mr Saidu Mohammed, the DPR spokesperson, also said the queue was due to panic buying.