Marketers blame supply hitch as fuel queues resurface in Lagos, Ogun

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Black marketers make brisk business amid queues, NNPC says Apapa depot empty

Queues will ease off before Sallah break next week, say MEMAN, IPMAN

Petroleum marketers say the non-availability of Premium Motor Spirit in filling stations located in Lagos and Ogun states is as a result of shortage in supply.

Similarly, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited confirmed that there were no products in its Apapa depots.

Saturday PUNCH reports that long queues resurfaced in filling stations across the two states on Friday, creating fear of impending fuel scarcity.

Our correspondents, who went round some parts of Lagos and Ogun states, reported that the queues of desperate motorists in some of the filling stations affected the free flow of traffic.

At the Oando filling station in Alapere, Lagos, commuters were held in traffic as motorists struggled to buy fuel. The station stopped dispensing fuel later in the day.

There were long queues at the Conoil filling station, while the TotalEnergies station in the same area was not dispensing fuel to customers.

It was observed that many stations did not dispense fuel and this increased the pressure on the few ones where the product was available.

The NNPC station at Fadeyi did not sell petrol as of noon on Friday, while the NIPCO station recorded a long queue of vehicles waiting to get Premium Motor Spirit.

There were also long queues of motorists at the AP filling station in Onipanu.

The Mobil filling stations at Palmgrove, Alausa and Mile 2 areas of the state did not open for business.

The Enyo filling station at Ojodu junction had long queues when one of our correspondents got there.

It was the same scenario at Eterna filling station at Oworonshoki, Northwest in Oju-Elegba, TotalEnergies and MRS in Surulere.

The NNPC, Mobil, TAS, NIPCO, Enyo, As-Salam and other filling stations along the Mowe-Ibafo route in Ogun State did not sell petrol too.

Similarly, the Capital and Enyo filling stations at Berger did not sell PMS as at the time of filing this report.

The Rain Oil and NNPC stations in Ibafo, Asese and Mowe areas had long queues of motorists, while other stations along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway were shut.

The situation affected the number of commercial vehicles on the roads.

At Mile 2, some young men engaged in the sale of the product in jerrycans at N800 per litre.

Commercial motorcyclists, who spoke with Saturday PUNCH, said they had been buying from the black marketers since Wednesday.

A customer on the Ikotun Idimu Road in Lagos, who gave his name as Mr Ejiogbu, said, “I just noticed there are long queues in filling stations around here and I don’t know why it is only the NNPC station that is dispensing fuel in the area.

“I started noticing the scarcity and queues everywhere two days ago and I don’t know why.”

It was observed that the scarcity has started affecting transport fares.

A trader, Mrs Ada Herbert, said, “Ikotun to Cele Express used to be between N400 and N500, but today, drivers pegged it at N600; I don’t know if it was as a result of the fuel scarcity.”

At the Mobil filling station at First Gate along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, there was a short queue of motorists waiting to buy fuel in jerrycans.

One of the fuel attendants said the station managed to get fuel after three days of no supply.

“They just came to supply fuel for us now. We didn’t have fuel for over three days. I don’t know why they didn’t bring it earlier. What matters is that we have fuel to sell now,” the attendant, who declined to give his name, said.

Motorists also queued up to buy fuel at the Mobil station at Alakija, where PMS was sold fuel for N605 per litre.

The National Vice President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Hammed Fashola, had said on Monday that there was a little hiccup in the distribution of the product and expressed optimism that normalcy would be restored after the Easter break.

Fashola stated, “Yes, I think there was a little infraction in supply. The Easter holidays from Friday to Monday also added to the situation. I think from Wednesday it will ease off.

“There was little problem with supply even before the holidays. There was a little hiccup in supply, and the holiday added to it. I am sure will start getting better after the holidays.”

However, the situation seems to be getting worse four days after the Easter break.

NNPC, marketers speak

The spokesperson for the NNPCL, Olufemi Soneye, in a message on Friday, confirmed that there were queues at NNPCL stations, saying there were no products at the company’s Apapa depots.

According to him, the NNPCL has carried out a review and there is no sign of scarcity in Lagos.

Soneye stated, “There were no products at our Apapa depots. We have carried out a review and there was no sign of scarcity in Lagos.

“It is only the NNPC Retail stations that have queues due to our price differential.”

However, the Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria differed with the NNPCL as it confirmed queues at its filling stations.

The Executive Secretary of MEMAN, Clement Isong, said there was low stock over the Easter weekend for some of the members, adding that this resulted from truck out to supply stations without replenishment at its depots.

Isong said this led to outages in some retail outlets during the past week.

However, he stated that the depots were currently receiving PMS supplies from the NNPC Trading and would continue to do so throughout the weekend.

Isong said, “Thank you for reaching out to us regarding the recent concerns about fuel scarcity. We understand the importance of addressing these issues promptly and transparently to provide clarity to the public.

”There was low stock over the Easter weekend for some MEMAN members resulting from truck out to supply stations without replenishment at our depots.

“This led to outages in some retail outlets during the past week. Depots are currently receiving PMS supplies from the NNPC Trading and shall continue to do so through the coming weekend.

”Moving forward, we want to assure the public that supplies have resumed and all MEMAN members are collaborating closely to expedite the distribution process. Members are working tirelessly at our depots, including extended hours and weekends, to ensure that retail outlets are adequately stocked.

”Our collective goal is to eliminate fuel queues and stabilise the supply chain before the upcoming Sallah holidays next week.”

Fashola also confirmed that the depots had started loading fuel.

He said, “It is good not to allow queues to occur at all because to arrest the queues usually takes a little time. But from what I saw yesterday (Thursday), over 400 trucks went to the MRS depot to load fuel. So, I am very confident that the queues will soon ease off. You know when it starts, we have to double efforts to address the situation.

“Like I said before, there was a little shortfall in supply and the Easter holidays compounded the issue for us. But with the way they have started working yesterday throughout the weekend, I am sure by Monday we should have a relief.

“When things like this happen, people will start engaging in panic buying. You see people with jerry cans going to stations to buy fuel just to keep. This is very bad and dangerous. People must be sensitised to this.”

He debunked rumours that marketers were hoarding fuel because the Federal Government wanted to reduce prices.

Punch

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