Chineme Okafor in Abuja and Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
Nigerians are again mulling the hardship they may encounter if the emerging fuel queues in Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, and Port Harcourt extend to other cities.
In Lagos, fuel queues resurfaced Thursday night and built up fast yesterday in some stations along Ikorodu Road and Awolowo Road in Ikoyi, causing traffic problems in the neighbourhoods.
In Abuja, some petrol service stations, especially within Wuse 2, Central Business District (CBD) and Wuse Zone 4 were seen by THISDAY to have long queues of vehicles for petrol. Some petrol stations in Port Harcourt have already raised the pump price of the product and are dispensing at between N155 and N157 per litre, while other dealers along Aba, Ada George Roads and environs have locked up their stations.
In Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, long queue emerged yesterday evening with motorists struggling to purchase fuel at major filling stations where the product was available.
In one of the stations located on Obafemi Awolowo road, the entrance gates were locked even as the queues of motorists stretched more than 200 metres.
Other filling stations in Mokola, J. Allen, Molete, Challenge and Eleyele that were selling fuel, also had long queues of motorists to contend with.
One of the petrol attendants while lamenting the ugly development said Nigerians should pray that the commodity “is available and not about the price”.
According to him, “What is important is that we should pray that filling stations have fuel to dispense no matter the price that it would be sold.”
However, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday said the queues were as a result of panic buying of petroleum products, insisting that there was no looming scarcity, as the Corporation had reserves of a billion litres of petrol.
The NNPC also asked Nigerians to disregard trending social media reports of an impending fuel scarcity due to purported refusal by some oil marketers to lift products from depots.
Its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu said in a statement that such reports were fabricated by mischief makers with intent to create undue panic in petrol supply and distribution across the country.
According to the corporation, it has over a billion litres of petrol in stock, with an additional 48 vessels of 50 million litres each expected to berth in the country in this month alone.
The NNPC thus stated that there was no need for such panic buying or hoarding of petrol because there was no product scarcity expected.
It also assured consumers of the product that the pump price of petrol was still N145 per litre. The corporation had earlier in the week cautioned depot owners or terminal operators not to sell petrol above the official ex-depot price of N133.28k per litre.
It stated that the subsisting ex-depot petrol price of N133.28k per litre was consistent with the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency’s (PPPRA) template and should be adhered to, adding that the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) would move against operators that flouted the approved ex-depot price.