Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fuel scarcity spreads nationwide, as long queues resurface

Published:

Motorists and commuters alike are presently groaning under the harsh condition occasioned by the artificial scarcity of fuel spreading across the states.

Investigation by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) correspondents showed long queues in most fuel stations while some other shut their outlets against motorists.

The petrol scarcity, especially in most state capitals, has given rise to black marketers, who operate freely along the major highways, selling at exorbitant prices, at times up to N250 per litre.

Bayelsa

From Bayelsa, came a report that the NNPC mega station, in Yenagoa, was the only filling station dispensing petrol at the official pump price of N97, though long queues had subsisted in the last one week.

Other filling stations selling, notably five out of the over 30 petrol stations in the state capital, were reported to be selling between N120 to N150 per litre.

The situation had compelled many motorists to sojourn in long queues at the NNPC mega station.

A commercial motorist, Jude Awoniyi told NAN that it was better to wait patiently at the NNPC mega station, than to be exploited by the private oil marketers who sold at exorbitant prices.

Only last Saturday, a team of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), on a surveillance patrol, sealed up the Agip petrol station at the Edepie Roundabout in Yenagoa, for selling at N110 per litre after conspicuously displaying N97 on the metre.

An operative of the DPR team, who refused to identify his name, said they had information that AP was selling above the official price of N97 per litre, hence they decided to visit and confirm the information.

Katsina

In Katsina, vehicle queues have started surfacing at filling stations in the metropolis following reported shortage of petrol.

A NAN correspondent who went round the filling stations in the metropolis on Tuesday, observed some queues at 10 filling stations, most of which sold the commodity at the usual N97 per litre.

It was however observed that, over 30 filling stations were not selling the commodity either because they did not get supply or hoarded it for higher profit.

The queues started on Monday in the state capital.

NAN further gathered that the supply of PMS (petrol) to the state had drastically reduced within the last two weeks.

When contacted, Muhammad Sani, Operation Controller, state’s Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), said the problem was not from Katsina as most of the filling stations had no fuel.

Zamfara

In Gusau, the Zamfara state capital, filling stations in the state have continued to operate fully despite reported long queues in the Federal capital on Monday.

NAN checks revealed that the independent and major marketers were serving customers with few pumps at the fuel stations.

All the filling stations visited in Gusau and its environs, did not show any sign of products’ shortage, especially petrol.

Kano

The situation was not different in Kano, as long queues of vehicles resurfaced at filling stations in Kano metropolis.

NAN investigation in Kano and other major towns of the state revealed that queues emerged on Tuesday at filing stations which had the stock.

The check revealed that most of the filling stations with stock belonged to major marketers while a few were owned by independent marketers.

Some of these marketers were said to have closed their filling stations in order to maximise profit by selling to black markers.

The black marketers exploited the situation by increasing the price from N550 per gallon (four litre) to between N600 and N650.

When contacted, the chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Kano branch, Bashir Bello blamed the situation on inadequate supply of the commodity from the NNPC depot.

According to him, many members of the association have paid for supplies since last week but have yet to receive the consignment.

‘’We learnt that loading of the commodity has been suspended at the NNPC depot in Kano.’’

Effort to contact the NNPC depot Manager to comment on the situation failed as he was said to be attending a crucial meeting with other top officials at the depot.

Kogi

Contrary to what obtained in most states, fuel supply in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital, remained stable.

Most of the fuel stations were selling and there were queues.

Anambra

In Awka, the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as fuel has hit N110 per litre in the city.

Checks by NAN reporters in and around Awka on Tuesday revealed that most filing stations were selling fuel for between N105 and N110 per litre.

Some marketers who spoke with NAN said the current problem was a reflection of the general challenge associated with products’ availability in the country.

The Secretary of Petroleum dealers in Anambra, Charlse Jideani, said the problem with fuel supply and pricing were beyond the control of marketers.

He appealed to customers in the state to bear with marketers as they made effort to ensure there were products in the state.

Mr. Jideani called on the Federal Government to address the major factors affecting fuel supply such as putting the refineries and deports in the country in good shape.

Reports say a litre of fuel has always been sold for N105 in Awka since July.

NAN

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