03 July 2015, Lagos – Activities at the various petrol depots in the Apapa axis of Lagos and other parts of the country were grounded on Thursday following very poor supply of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) to them.
The presence of the tankers, however, did not cause serious traffic problems as a task force set up by the Lagos State Government, petroleum product marketers and transporters coordinated traffic.
Findings by our correspondent revealed that there were no vessels carrying petroleum products waiting to offload at the Apapa jetty.
Loading activities were grounded at Nipco, Aiteo, Capital and Folawiyo depots, which are the most active in the area.
Three marketers, who spoke to our correspondent on the development, said the realities on the ground showed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had run out of products.
Two of the marketers spoke to our correspondent in confidence, but one of them, who preferred to be identified simply as Mr. Peter, said the return of queues at filling stations in most states of the federation was a reflection of poor loading activities at the depots.
He blamed the poor loading situation at the depots on NNPC’s slow pace of delivering products to them. The NNPC is the sole importer of petrol into the country in recent times as a result of the unwillingness of members of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and the Depots and Petroleum Marketers Association to import following the failure of the government to pay them over N200bn in subsidies arrears.
One of the marketers, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, said, “There is no product at the jetties here in Apapa. Nothing is happening here and nobody has products to sell.
“We are ready to transact business with the NNPC, but we are not seeing the products. It is obvious that the NNPC doesn’t have products. A majority of the depots here got their last supply a week ago.
“There is no hope that we will get products today or tomorrow; and if the NNPC still says it has products, it should disclose to us the vessels conveying the products and their destination.”
The Executive Secretary, MOMAN, Mr. Thomas Olawore, had said the NNPC lacked the capacity to address the national demand for petrol in the long term and did not have the distribution network to drive product penetration.
But the corporation insists that it has stepped up efforts to maintain stability in the supply and distribution of petroleum products nationwide.
It said it had enough stock of petrol to service the country for 23 days at a national consumption rate of 40 million litres per day, even as it had stepped up product distribution to marketers and NNPC retail outlets across the country.
While calling on members of the public to refrain from panic buying, the NNPC said it had sufficient stock of petrol at its coastal depots in Port Harcourt, Warri and Calabar, besides the stock in the national strategic reserves.
Most filling stations in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and other states were shut because they had no products to sell to motorists and other users.