The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, says loading of petroleum products has resumed in its depots across Nigeria.
Ndu Ughamadu, the corporation’s spokesman, said resumption of activities at the depots followed the suspension of a strike action by the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported that scarcity of kerosene, a product used by millions of largely poor Nigerians for cooking, hit major cities in Nigeria, causing huge increase in price.
The situation caused some residents to turn to alternatives such as firewood and cooking gas.
Three of the most affected cities are Kaduna and Zaria in Kaduna State and Calabar in Cross River State.
But NNPC in its statement on Saturday noted that with the resumption in production of diesel and kerosene by the nation’s three refineries located in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri, Nigerians should expect the seamless flow of petroleum products to resume.
While pledging its commitment to sustaining harmonious relations with industry unions, the NNPC urged Nigerians not to engage in panic buying as there is adequate supply of white products to meet their needs nationwide.
The corporation, according to the statement, also called on members of the public and other stakeholders to refrain from any act that could impede the supply and distribution of petroleum products in the country.
Meanwhile, checks by PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday revealed that the scarcity of kerosene has crept into some parts of Lagos State.
When our correspondent visited filling stations at Surulere, Yaba and Ikeja areas, none of the stations had kerosene. There were long queues at the gas sections of the stations, as consumers resorted to available alternatives.
Many consumers lamented the scarcity of the product, calling on government to find lasting solutions to the problem.
“This queue is terrible, and the cost of refilling gas too is now slightly increased. A 3kg gas is now refilled at N1,300 as against the N1,000 it used to be. This is not okay,” Yinka Adebajo, a buyer at one of the filling stations in Ikeja, said.
A resident of Surulere, Anne James, said, “There is no kerosene anywhere around here; some of us cannot afford to buy gas. This is unacceptable.”
Earlier, in an interview, Mr. Ughamadu had said that ‘unscrupulous’ oil marketers were responsible for the scarcity and the hike in the prices of kerosene and cooking gas.
Efforts to speak with Chinedu Okonkwo, President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, was futile as his phone number was not reachable. He did not respond to repeated messages sent to the number either.