18 April 2016, Lagos – The fuel supply situation, which showed slight improvement in recent days, has taken a turn for the worse as queues grew longer on Sunday at the few petrol stations selling the product in Lagos and Ogun states.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had recently said petrol queues would clear in Abuja and Lagos by April 6 or 7, adding that the scarcity would subside in other parts of the country, including Kano, Katsina, Port Harcourt and Warri, by that weekend.
But more than 10 days after, the scarcity of petrol has continued to bite hard as motorists and other consumers struggle to get the product, even at filling stations where it was being sold above the regulated price of N86.50 per litre.
Our correspondents gathered that loading at depots had not improved significantly, with many of them still attending to tickets issued in November last year.
In Lagos, many filling stations did not have the product on Sunday, while black marketers had a field day as they sold the product for as much as N300 per litre.
The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, Lagos Zone, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, said in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, said,“We are still having the fuel problem because there is no supply. Even with the little we are rationing, if you look at the queues very well, they have returned to what they used to be. And it is a very devastating situation now.
“Most of the depots are not loading well. Even the products they promised that they will soon pump to the depots is not in sight now. I have not seen any seriousness on the part of the other stakeholders to complement the effort of the NNPC. The NNPC is supplying, but it cannot do it alone. Now, it is only the NNPC that is bringing the fuel into the country.”
A source, who is an official of an independent marketer, said, “The queues will remain like that until we have good supply. And that good supply may not come until May. I expect that by first week of May, something positive should happen.
“People are still finding it difficult to get foreign exchange. All the ones that the government promised have not been released to anybody.”
The situation was, however, slightly different in Abuja and neighbouring cities to the Federal Capital Territory on Sunday.
Although some motorists were sighted queuing in front of the few petrol stations that dispensed the commodity, the queues were not as long as they were on Friday.
Attendants at some of the filling stations attributed the shorter queues to the fact that there was less traffic in the city on Sunday as many residents were either out of Abuja or were relaxing at home.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Garba Deen Mohammed, assured motorists and other petrol users that the current shortage would soon be over, as the problem had been largely resolved.