EXCLUSIVE: Why petrol may not sell at N145 anytime soon

Fuel scarcity in one of filling stations in Lagos

The desire of Nigerians in many cities to buy petrol at N145 per litre may not materialise anytime soon, an investigation has shown.

Findings by an undercover PREMIUM TIMES reporter, who posed as a potential oil marketer at several Lagos fuel depots, also revealed that the lingering fuel scarcity may continue into the New Year.

Oil depots are where large quantities of petroleum products are stored for onward lifting and distribution by marketers to consumers.

Many of the depots, managed by major oil marketers, did not sell fuel at the time of visit as they claimed they had no stock.

Others who had the product sold at wholesale prices far above the N133 quoted by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

NNPC, Oil marketers disagreement

NNPC’s boss, Maikanti Baru, stirred controversy last week when he revealed that the landing cost of petrol had risen to N171 a litre, meaning the government had been subsiding petrol to sell at the approved N145.

Mr. Baru said on Friday President Muhammadu Buhari authorised the corporation to subsidise the product for Nigerians.

The NNPC, he said, currently sells to marketers at N133 and expects them to sell to Nigerians at N145. The NNPC boss also blamed the oil marketers for the fuel scarcity, accusing them of “hoarding” and “diverting” the product to frustrate Nigerians.

Oil marketers deny responsibility for the scarcity, attributing the crisis to the emergence of the NNPC as the sole importer of fuel. The disagreement has continued to drag for weeks and has worsened the petrol crisis.

Most filling stations selling fuel across the country do so at prices far higher than NNPC-authorised price of N145.

In response, the Department of Petroleum Resources has closed many stations for selling above the approved price. In some states, the department has dispensed fuel free to motorists as punishment againt errant marketers.

But marketers of petroleum products have argued that the N145 price is not realistic as they buy fuel far higher than N133 from the depots.

“The fault is not with us, it at the points where we load products; as I am talking to you I bought the products I am selling now at N235 and the content was short of 1,800 litres after it was discharged and I have paid,” Cletus Obiokafor, who is the chairman of oil marketers in Anambra State, said last week.

“As Chairman of marketers in Anambra, I cannot lie to you; anybody who tells you we are buying products at normal price and selling at N250 is not truthful.”

Mr. Obiokafor warned that if the clampdown on their members continued, marketers would close filling stations, as they were no longer prepared to incur the losses.

“The Federal Government knows what to do to solve the problem; we are not responsible for it,” he said.

A PREMIUM TIMES’ investigation revealed that the marketers’ claim may not be far from the reality.

High wholesale prices

On Friday when PREMIUM TIMES visited the depots at Kirikiri Waterside and Coconut areas of Apapa in Lagos, many depots either did not sell petrol or sold at far higher rates.

At Kirikiri-Waterside end of the depots, Swift Oil and Tecno Oil depots sold fuel at the rate of N151 per litre (against approved N133) in the morning. By afternoon, the price had risen to N152 per litre, excluding other charges by the local National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG.

“That’s why it is hypocritical to expect us (marketers) to sell at N145 per litre,” a furious marketer who identified himself simply as Bash, told PREMIUM TIMES.

This newspaper also found that the local NUPENG charged marketers extra fees, separate from the lifting price of N152.

The amount varies with the quantity of product to be lifted. For petrol, there are tanks for 15,000 litres, 45,000 litres and 60,000 litres.

For the 45,000 litres, N9, 000 is paid as ‘Union Fee’ while a separate N15, 000 is paid for ‘Clearance’.

“Before you can get your tanker inside here (the depot), you have to ‘settle’the Navy, the police and others,” Bash explained to our correspondent further.

“Now, is it not callous for government to be deceiving the people by expecting us to sell at N145?” he added.

Bovas Oil depot, located behind the Swift and Tecno Oil depot, sold its own product through third parties on Friday, PREMIUM TIMES gathered.

Mercy Port Oil and Fresh Oil, the two oil marketers that sold for BOVAS, told our reporter that the product was sold at N154 per litre Friday morning. By noon on Friday, when PREMIUM TIMES revisited the depot, officials said the product had been exhausted.

At the Coconut end of Apapa, the situation was worse as many of the depots were under lock. Others like Ibeto Oil, T-Time and Eternal Oil only sold diesel to marketers and tanker drivers.

At MRS Oil depot, officials said petrol sold at N163 per litre Friday morning. Sahara Energy, one of the biggest major marketers, also did not sell product to retail marketers.

One marketer who asked for anonymity wondered why the government, through the DPR, was clamping down on filling stations and not depots.

“Why can’t they visit these depots around here? The government knows what it is doing; they are just blaming marketers to appear hardworking before Nigerians,” he said.

“Now as a potential marketer (referring to PREMIUM TIMES reporter), you have seen it yourself. How can a marketer buy at these prices and sell at N145? Is he stupid? That’s even if you see the product, anyway.”

In Lagos, the few filling stations that had petrol on Friday, sold at prices between N200 and N250 per litre. In Sango, Ogun state, many stations remained shut.

Speaking in Abuja on Friday, the NNPC GMD, Mr. Baru, said the government had tackled the fuel crisis, adding that Nigerians would soon be relieved in the next few days.

But many of the marketers at the depots visited in Lagos who could not get the product said there may be no final solution in sight yet to the lingering crisis.

NNPC reacts

When contacted on the telephone Saturday morning, Ndu Ughamadu, NNPC spokesperson, said the corporation had identified the issues and may wield the big stick on some marketers.

“As you are aware, the corporation is the sole importer of petroleum product into the country. The NNPC has three responsibilities: as a commercial entity; as importer of last resort; and as a social supplier. Social in the sense that it is expected of us to supply the nation with products whenever there are elements of shortages.

“We import these products and we made it clear to these depots that we are giving them at ex-officio price and they must comply with that directive. And that was precisely what caused the last fuel shortages because independent marketers in Lagos alleged that these depots were charging them exorbitant prices which we intervened and we called them to order.

“When they were selling to them at exorbitant prices, they threatened and asked Nigerians to start stockpiling products and many of the independent marketers started hoarding products. As a result, there was panic buying which led to hoarding and diversion.”

Mr. Nghamadu said the NNPC is expected to meet with marketers within two days. He said the corporation plans to draw their attention to all the issues and also read out the riot act.

“That’s why I said we are going to tackle all these. They are not supposed to do that because we are just coming out of these shortage of fuel challenge. We are going to challenge it and we are going to send our officials, particularly PPMC, to the area,” he said.

When confronted with PREMIUM TIMES’ findings that show that there may be no lasting solution to the crisis soon and the scarcity may drag into the New Year, the NNPC spokesperson debunked the claim.

“No. No, no, no, no…. We have enough product. It is the system right now because we have tackled this issue of hoarding but diversion is what nobody can guarantee because it is beyond us,” he said.

“Equally, we have secured the assurances of security agencies and even the president directed about two days ago to monitor the borders. We equally held meetings with tanker drivers and NATO, their employers on the issue of diversion and the issue of hoarding. So it will be tackled and it will not step into the New Year.

“We will wade into it because in spite of the debt they are owing us, we have been supplying products to all these depots. We will wade into it.”


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  • realist

    Who is now deceiving who? Baru’s position that the landing cost is #172 almost tally with the current price at the depot. If Buhari could not stop fuel problem in one week despite the big power in his disposal shows he is incapable of solving any problem even giving 10 years.

    • Jon

      Buhari’s area of expertise is in cattle rearing and not oil resources management. That’s why he should have appointed himself as minister of agriculture. No, they want to have control over what is not theirs – Southern Oil Resources.

      I do not see any Southern President going to the North to try to grab Northern cattle, goat, ram or hen. However, when the parasites come into power, you see them grabbing the oil sector and customs.

      • Rumournaire

        At the end of his tenor as Minister of State for Petroleum, Kachikwu will have nothing left of his reputation. If Buhari is incompetent and unable to take the hard decisions, and if Kachikwu believes in his own “First Class Law Graduate from UNN, PhD Harvard”, he should have thrown in the towel and quit this government long ago, since Buhari has assigned that aspect of the Ministry to him. A professional whose advise is disregarded by his boss should know what to do.

        • share Idea

          I agree with you even though there are others like the VP that have been rubbished by Buhari’s incompetence.

          • Rumournaire

            I don’t think there is any comparison. If you talk of the reputation of individuals in this govenment, I can say that Osinbajo’s reputation has been enhanced, notwithstanding that Buhari hesitated to trust him in the early days. Look back at the period of Buhari’s absence: Many Nigerians felt that Osinbajo was a better leader than Buhari. Even the restive Niger Deltans welcomed him. Even the Igbos felt more belonging under him.

            On the contrary, there has been absolutely nothing that has endeared Kachikwu to Nigerians since he became part of this government. He went to China, signed a dubious agreement which amounted to selling Nigeria’s future oil production, and came back to lie to us that he had secured a commitment for $80b investment by China. He got embroiled in a phoney controversy with Baru over non-existent contracts. When pushed hard, he quickly started to tell us how he made First Class degree at UNN and obtained PhD from Harvard. What do all these do to his reputation?

          • share Idea

            Are you being tribalistic or just the best defence you can mount for the VP that have repeatedly lied severally to the nation in the name of being politically correct.

            Osibanjo lied that FG released about $2B for the construction of the second niger bridge when he was in Onistha even when the total contract sum was not up-to the amount.

            He claimed that he did not sign any contract for NNPC fraud masterminded by Buhari & his cabal but only signed for loan (does the loan agreement called what? or does the FG either through NNPC not supposed to pay back the loan?). Just recently, he told the bewildered public that NNPC pays for subsidy while the FG does not.

            I can go on with list of lies peddled by Osibanjo in order to defend the indefensible. Just look at the mess of board list released last week, the presidency have dragged Osibanjo into it by claiming that Buhari asked him to review and coordinate the activity.

            Buhari deliberately allowed him to mess-up himself by directing him to use NEC to approve withdrawal of $1B from ECA.

          • Rumournaire

            For goodness sake, can we not have straight conversations – even disagreements – in these fora without reading tribal meanings to things? You and I may disagree on the performance of people in government, but why does it have to be based on tribe? What I said about Osinbajo’s reputation is what I read people say about him when he stood in for the president. Or are you saying Nigerians did not commend him as Acting President? The fact that Nigerians commended him then does not in any way suggest that he was perfect. I simply said that the man had his credibility enhanced, but that Kachikwu has done nothing to enhance his own credibility. And you immediately see my view as tribalistic? Can you tell us one thing Kachikwu has achieved to enhance his credibility?

            Read my posts in all fora. I quickly terminate conversations with people who see tribe in everything. I do not care about tribe; I discuss issues. I have two married daughters; none of my sons-in-law is married to my tribe or even speak my language. So, if you are one of those who wear tribal lenses all the time, count me out of your conversations. I am a Nigerian – period! Haba! The world is not about “Fulani”, “Hausa”, “Yoruba” or “Igbo”.

          • share Idea

            It is a pity that you are exhibiting a trait that is overtly displayed in your article while claiming that you do not base your comment on them.

            Fair enough, you might not know that you are exhibiting the trait (tribal bias) but I tell you that your comment is dripping with it. How can you claim that Osibanjo’s reputation have been enhanced under Buhari, and conclude that Kachikwu’s is completely damaged.

            For me, they both have their reputation tarnished. If for anything, Kachikwu reputation soared after the leaking of his memo to Buhari, and he should have followed that up with resignation when the cabal wanted to play a fast one on him. Osibanjo was very instrumental in the cover up even when their act exposed Buhari’s cabal action of acting outside constitutional framework.

            We were in this country when Segun Adeshina claimed that Yaradua thanked the former acting president (and referred to him as VP), when in actual fact, Yaradua does not even have consciousness of his environment.

            Hence, some of the reason why I concluded that Osibanjo reputation was equalled soiled.

          • VOICEoftheVoiceless

            The VP himself also rubbish Buhari’s government through his incompetency managing of the EMT that he’s heading as the chairman. Osinbajo is one major problem and backwardness to Buhari’s presidency. Stop the blame game and hypocrisy here. We know tge truths about Buhari’s supposed failures. It’s a combination of backward thinkers amongst them all, including Buhari himself.

          • share Idea

            I do not blame anyone. Buhari from word go is a failure. Hence, saying that Osibanjo is rubbishing Buhari’s government is like saying that the government was good in the first place.

            I do not know about Osibanjo before he became Buhari’s VP. However, for someone to have a title of SAN, I presume that the person is learned, and when you combine with ‘PASTOR’ title, you expect such person to at least once in a while be circumspect in his speech.

          • VOICEoftheVoiceless

            I never said Buhari’s government is good nor bad in my comment to you, I only replied you based upon your assertion on Buhari’s presidency to this nation. Individuals of my type that is criticizing this government heads on everyday understood that both Buhari and Osinbajo are renowned failures and backward thinkers. But as a learned and well educated man in the person of the VP, he would have been praised and applauded by the Nigerian citizens, if he had either rejected the EMT’s chairman position, or probably assembled individuals of sound brains into his economic leadership. He preferred to be packing friends and church associates as advisory committee to his leadership.

            The worst parts of all, was that he is also responsible for those brainless economic advisers to Buhari, whom are stationed in his office. If you ask a person of my learnedness that knows deeply about political and economic backwardness of this nation, then I will simply tell you the truths that Buhari personally destroyed and still destroying the political climate of this nation through nepotism and sectionalism, while Osinbajo on his side damaged and still damaging Nigerian economy till tomorrow through ignorance and self-serving. No sentimental comments whatsoever in all my submissions.

      • Iskacountryman

        but buhari can count…

  • growthengine

    This is a prehistoric ancient form of governance by Buhari. That’s why people are running to Europe and not mind dying on the way. Because they don’t want to be ruled by a dinosaur. A country where half the time is spent holding a jerry can chasing fuel.

  • FreeNigeria

    Crude prices has risen due to shortage of Libya output. A dysfunctional country that buys petrol from countries she sold crude oil to. Dysfunctional subhumans

  • Dawood

    Send soldiers to the depots. PT has identified them as being the source of the chaos. Stop speaking grammar and act!

  • Segun B.

    Is Premium Times trying to help the useless government of Buhari
    to announce increase in the price of petrol or what? What is the
    reason for this kind of news when we have no electricity to fan
    ourselves and no petrol at fuel station to buy for our generator?

    Since I was born I have never seen this kind of suffering before.
    My children have been worrying me to pack and go elsewhere.
    They are saying that war -torn Somalia or Libya is far better.
    Did I vote for Buhari to be a refugee in Somalia or Libya?

  • Galantman

    If this news is true, then NNPC and NUPENG are simply evil! How can NNPC be closing filling stations for not selling at N145, while there boys are collecting bribes at the depots and depot owners selling above N145? NUPENG despite all there there bravado are hypocrites because under there watch this nonsense is happening, and instead of intervening they are busy collecting outrageous Union fees to be looted by Labour officials!

  • musa aliyu

    No government is serious over this issue. Why won’t they build the depots , filling stations and make more money for the government and forget these saboteurs? Mtchewww

    • forestgee

      We should talk about refining sufficient quantity of crude oil in Nigeria. Massive corruption importing…

  • forestgee

    The penchant for lies by this Government is unbelievable! They will never come clean and straight; yet some people cannot see through their falsehood …SAD.

  • Lanre

    Nigeria. Very interesting place. I remember Ndu Ughamadu writing then for the Daily Times. But I digress. There has never been a subsidy in the price of petrol in Nigeria. What Nigerians are paying for is the theft, corruption and stealing that has rendered all the refineries incapable of meeting local consumption. I believe firmly in God Almighty as a Christian and I know that all Nigerian Leaders that took part in the destruction of the refineries through criminal Turn Around Maintenance Contracts will pay for it. You can escape human justice but you can never, divine justice.

    P.S How true is it that top Government Officials own oil marketing firms? Can any one confirm?

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    President Muhamamdu Buhari, his minister of state for petroleum resources,Dr Ibe Kachikwu, NNPC managing director,Dr.Maikati Baru, must double-up their efforts and ensure that our existing four refineries are repaired and fixed to produce at maximum scale and new refineries on steam are completed on time in order to stop importation of foreign refined fuel products for our domestic uses in Nigeria. Those fuel stations hoarding fuel products must be penalized by the police officers and mobile police officers.
    Fuel importers, who were responsible for former president Goolduck Ebele Jonathan,s fuel-subsidy scam are the people behind present fuel scarcity to sabotage president Muhammadu Buhari,s government. It was a calculated scheme by fuel importers.They are enemies within.

    • Henry

      Sir did you read it completely? What you are saying is different, if person responsible for a job is lying my brother we are finish

  • Iskacountryman

    dummies…the price of fuel was officially increased to 200/liter…but it and stop complaining…

  • Azeez Yahaya

    Look at the kind of stories we hear from professionals landing cost at N171 per litre, NNPC pays the subsidy to the marketers no the marketers are owing N26.7b please which of these balderdash is true

  • Azeez Yahaya

    If each of them is pointing accusing finger to the other how on earth can sanity be maintained isn’t there documents anymore don’t they write things down again?