Petrol Scarcity Takes Toll On Nigerians
• Worsens In Lagos, Abates In Abuja
For most Nigerians across the country, the issue of perennial fuel, particularly petrol scarcity, it appears, is becoming a way of life and something they have to put up with, at least for now.
Just as the situation was normalising after an earlier scarcity, the two-day strike by members of the Petroleum Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) worsened the supply.
Almost 28 hours after the strike was called off, most parts of the country are still grappling with scarcity and long queues at filling stations as a result of short supply of the product.
For most of the week, motorists and commuters struggled for petrol at the few filling stations selling the product, with most either selling only to black marketers, especially at night, or at exorbitant prices in daytime, in utter disregard of the fixed prices. Others have, however ran out of stock.
This was made worse by the inclement hot weather and picketing of one of the largest Discos in the country, the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company (IKEDC) in Lagos, resulting in shut down of its operations and power outage for some days.
In Lagos, petrol has become ‘gold,’ as most stations, including the major marketers, seem to have run out of stock.
Most of the filling stations were not selling petrol yesterday and the few ones that were selling caused heavy vehicular gridlocks along the major roads.
Transportation has gone up on most routes by about N50.
At Total filling station in Ojota, Taofeek Adebayo, bemoaned that the fuel scarcity has gone from bad to worst.
“I have been here for the past one hour. I wanted to buy petrol and go to Agege. I don’t know the cause of the scarcity. So I can’t say what the government can do about it.”
“I have an appointment that is necessary for me to go with my car. That is why I am going out. Otherwise, I would have gone with public transport.”
Another motorists, Kola Agboola, said he had to come from Ketu because they were not selling fuel at the filling station close to his house.
“We want the government to make fuel available, that is the solution.”
Toyin Yesufu said that he bought fuel last Saturday at Total in Ojota without any problem at N86.5 and the queue was not long like this one.
“Today (yesterday), it is quite a long queue. I have been here for the past one and half hours.
In Abuja, the relief from the suspension of the strike was noticeable yesterday, more stations dispensed fuel, but it may take another four days for the supply chain to stabilise.
In most filling stations that had fuel, there were long queues and confusion, as motorists outdo one another in an attempt to buy the product.
But a source told The Guardian last night that the queues would fizzle out latest by tomorrow, as more trucks were expected to arrive Abuja today.
President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Francis Johnson, believed the scarcity would ease by tomorrow.
“I am in Abuja now and we shall go to the depots and mobilise to ensure that everything goes smoothly. By tomorrow, everything should be back to normal,” he said.
He urged the Department of Petroleum resources (DPR) agents to go round and seal up defaulting stations.
“If you have products, why do you refuse to sell? The best thing is to seal them up, since they don’t want to sell.”