The fuel crisis across the country worsened, weekend, as most of the petrol stations were shut down leaving motorists stranded.
This was in spite of claims by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Friday that it was injecting about 688 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) into the market. Motorists had to resort to the black market, where roadside petrol sellers now sell the commodity for as high as N250 per litre.
However, the NNPC yesterday promised that it was working to ensure that the situation was addressed quickly and assured Nigerians that the fuel supply situation will improve in the coming days.
Group General Manager, Public Affairs of NNPC, Ohi Alegbe, said, “On Friday, we had stated that in 48 hours we will wet the market with 688 million litres of petrol. Distribution of products is by trucking. You will agree that it is some distance from the depots and tank farms in the south to the depots and retail outlets in the hinterland. Expectedly, the queues should disappear before long.”
Alegbe blamed the scarcity on panic buying by motorists and sharp practices by some retail outlets who are hoarding the commodity, thereby frustrating efforts to stem the scarcity.
“Panic buying has persisted in spite of our appeal to motorists. Secondly, some retail outlets are hoarding the product by dispensing from only one pump head. We have reported some of them to the DPR and we believe appropriate sanctions will be meted out to them,” Alegbe said.
The scarcity has worsened in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country with long queues observed in filling stations.
The situation has reportedly been made worse by the agitation of independent marketers that the Federal Government needs to pay them the difference occasioned by the sudden reduction from N97 to N87 per litre. The marketers had claimed to have imported fuel earlier based on the N97 price and had expected to be reimbursed.
To make good their threat, they have resorted to hoarding the product, thereby creating artificial scarcity. Most filling stations now open at night and sell at N100 per litre.
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