Fuel queues have returned to filling stations
By Ejiofor Alike
The current fuel scarcity across the country is biting harder as demand by fuel marketers and depot owners, who rely on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for imported products, continues to exceed supply from the corporation.
Investigations revealed that with inadequate petrol in the system, marketers and depot owners, who load trucks on 24-hour basis, have restricted loading to barely 10 hours a day.
This development, it was learnt, has led to increasing queues in filling stations and a hike in the pump price of petrol.
Lack of fuel has taken its toll on major cities like Lagos and Abuja, especially in Lagos, where fuel queues coupled with several hours of rain Thursday, led to traffic gridlocks all over the nation’s commercial nerve centre.
Only very few filling stations have petrol as most of the stations were selling only diesel, while a few others were also selling kerosene.
THISDAY gathered that only one vessel, MT Ocean Pearl, which was brought in by the NNPC was discharging products in Apapa Thursday.
The second vessel, MT CESARIA, was yet to discharge as at press time.
It was also learnt that with long queues in the few filling stations that were selling petrol, roadside marketers, popularly called black market operators, made brisk business by selling at N200 per litre.
Policemen and the military were seen yesterday seizing 50-litre kegs of petrol from the roadside hawkers in various parts of Lagos.
THISDAY gathered that petrol was sold Thursday at N120 per litre in the few filling stations that had products in Lagos, against the official pump price of N97.
The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), which had threatened to sanction marketers and dealers that engaged in profiteering, appeared to have been overwhelmed by the situation.
Marketers, who spoke to THISDAY, said the situation would continue unless there is adequate fuel to match the demand.
“The load-out is not enough for the demand. Under this situation, we should load 24 hours but we are loading just between morning and evening,” said one of the marketers.