Motorists resort to purchasing fuel outside the state capital.
One week after President Goodluck Jonathan said he was unaware that filling stations in Nigeria were selling petrol above the approved pump price, and pledged to investigate such claims, many stations in Jos, Plateau State, appear unperturbed with the president’s statement.
Mr. Jonathan had said during the Presidential Media Chat on May 4 that he was not aware that many filling stations were selling above the subsidised price.
Checks by PREMIUM TIMES on Monday around Jos, the Plateau capital, show that as the petrol scarcity bites harder, majority of the stations that have the product sell above the approved pump price of N97 per litre.
At Tayan filling station on Bukuru expressway, though the metre read N97, motorists were made to pay N125 per litre of petrol.
On the same route, Diptdat filling station, which is about 300 metres from Tayan filling station, also sold at N120, although its metre read N97.
A filling station that has the inscription ‘NNPC Mega Station’, located beside building materials market, by Air force girls school, also sold petrol for N110 per litre, motorists said.
Basaco filling station along Yakubu Gowon way sold petrol at N130. A regular customer said the pump price was reduced from N135 a week ago.
An Oando filling station located along Tudunwa/Domkat Bali road dispensed petrol at N120. The station still had a long queue with motorists saying the meter at the station was better than most others who sell at the same rate.
Another Oando filling station at Zaria road, before the Faringada roundabout, also sold petrol at N120 per litre
Aluma oil filling station, located along Vom Junction, also sold petrol at N120.
Many other filling stations simply did not sell the product; while the ones that sold above the pump price still displayed the official pump price, apparently to deceive regulators.
Motorists, who did not want to join the queue at the stations, bought petrol from black marketers who sold at N160 per litre.
On Monday, PREMIUM TIMES observed long queues at the only NNPC fuel station in Jos. The filling station was the only one found selling petrol at the official price of N97 per litre.
The queues at the NNPC filling station extended to a distance of about 500 metres with black marketers beside the filling station selling petrol to those who could not withstand the queues.
Commercial drivers in Jos lamented the hardship caused by the inadequate petrol supply in the state.
A motorist, Davou Pam, attributed the fuel scarcity to sabotage.
“The fuel scarcity in Jos is biting harder because our marketers are diverting the one meant for the state to other neighbouring states.
“Just go to any part of Nasarawa State or even Bauchi, which is the closest to us, or any part of Kaduna state, the highest you can buy fuel at black market price will be between 100 and 110 Naira per litre,” Mr. Pam said.
An inter-state bus driver, Chidi Abanacha, said he does not by fuel in Jos, due to the hick in price.
“As a young businessman who is just coming up, if I buy fuel here I Jos, I will not meet up with my target.
“So, each time I travel out of Jos, I fill my tank for the next journey at government approved price of 97 Naira per litre,” he said.
The driver added that “what is surprising about the scarcity here in Jos, is that, you see tankers entering into Jos everyday with petrol, but you hardly find it available at filling stations at government approved price of 97 Naira per litre. You can imagine motorist queuing
up at filling stations to buy fuel at 120 Naira per litre.”
A driver of a private elementary school in Jos, who asked not to be named, said he could not pick pupils to school on Monday due to non availability of petrol in the school bus.
“I have been on queue for fuel since Sunday, but till today (Monday) I have not gotten fuel. This is a school bus; I have to present receipts of every purchase.
“My employers set a particular sum for fuel every week, so if I buy beyond the rate I was directed, I may have to pay from my pocket or lose my job. So I must struggle to get fuel at official price of 97 Naira.”
Officials at the filling stations visited declined comment. However, the owner of one of the stations, who asked not to be named, told PREMIUM TIMES that they sell above the approved price because they also buy from major marketer.
“The major marketers are to blame,” he said, saying they sometimes buy from the major petrol marketers at a price as high as N100 per litre.
The fuel scarcity in Plateau state has subjected many motorists, particularly civil servants, who say they are being owed two months salaries, to keeping their cars off the road and joining commercial vehicles to work.