There are indications that the price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) popularly known as cooking gas, which is hovering between N4,500 and N5,000 may hit N6,000 by the end of January 2017 if the difficulties experienced in discharging the product at the NNPC jetty lingers.
This is even as some youths in Lagos have threatened to go on hunger strike to get the government to intervene in the matter, which they believe is taking a toll on the welfare of many families.
The youths numbering about 20 at the Agege area of Lagos told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY that they were going round local government areas in the state to sensitise and mobilise support from other youths for their planned hunger strike.
The cooking gas scarcity is reportedly caused by the failure of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to discharge an LPG vessel which has been at its North Oil Jetty (NOJ) in Apapa since 29 December 2016; resulting in temporary product shortage in the market.
The vessel could not berth because another vessel was said to be discharging aviation fuel at the jetty, which has only one berth.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has three jetties namely Petroleum Wharf, BOP and NOJ used by vessels to discharge petroleum products at Apapa. Of the three, only NOJ has facilities to discharge cooking gas.
The President, Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers and Managing Director, Second Coming Gas Limited, Basil Ogbuanu, confirmed that the stranded vessel came in with about 10,000 metric tonnes of cooking gas.
He said, “But it has not been able to discharge because there is no space for it to berth. I assure Nigerians that as soon as that vessel berths, the price will return to N4,000. Whatever the price is today, above N4,000 is artificial.”
The National Chairman, Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers (LPGAR), a branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Chika Umudu, decried the continued arbitrary increase in the prices of LPG and supply shortages.
He said in a statement last week that the crisis, which began around July 2016, had intensified and undermined the expected development of the LPG sector in the country.
Umudu said, “As a result, Nigerians, especially the low-income earners who are beginning to adapt to LPG, have been subjected to hardship since December last year.”
The situation has worsened this year, forcing many users to abandon their cylinders and opt for other sources such as firewood and kerosene.
“The price of 12.5kg of the product has risen from N3,500 in early December 2016 to N5,000 within Lagos State and neighbouring communities of Ogun State and parts of Oyo State. Within the same period in other parts of the country, the price has risen from between N4,000 and N4,500 to between N5,500 and N6,500.”
One of the youths threatening hunger strike, Emmanuel Adenekan, while speaking with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY said, “We are worried at the way things are going. Our families are suffering, our parents are impoverished daily, the prices of food stuffs are going high every day, our parents are not even able to pay our school fees.”
He said they will be embarking on hunger strike after mobilizing their peers to press home their point and will not eat until the government intervenes.
“Gas is what most houses use now. You cannot touch kerosene, you can’t touch petrol, firewood is even very costly if you see it, so how do these people want us to survive?”he queried.
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