Queues spread as petrol hits N1,100/litre in Abuja, others


The queues for Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, persisted in Abuja and neighbouring states on Monday, as it also spread to Lagos and other regions across the country, with marketers stating that the situation might drag till the weekend.

As motorists spend hours in queues at the few filling stations that dispensed the product, black marketers used the opportunity to raise their prices to between N1,000 and N1,100/litre, while some retail outlets increased the pump price of petrol to N900/litre, particularly in Abuja, Nasarawa and Niger.

This came as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited explained that the queues were due the recent thunderstorm and challenges of logistics that disrupted activities at fuel loading jetties.

It, however, stated that the company was working with stakeholders to resolve the situation and clear the queues.

Reacting to this, the President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, confirmed that NNPC had assured marketers that the matter was being addressed.

He, however, explained that the queues may not disappear in the next couple of days, stressing locations far away from major depots would experience lengthier days of fuel queues.

“Once they start loading, it takes some days to clear the queues. And don’t forget that filling stations in Abuja get products from Lagos, Oghara, Warri, Port Harcourt or Calabar, and that takes more than three days turn-around time to accomplish,” he stated.

On whether the situation was being resolved as stated by NNPC, Gillis-Harry said, “Yes it is being addressed and we’ve had an in-depth review of the matter. They’ve given us assurance that they are working on it and so we should be able to get products in our retail outlets.

“We could see what their challenges were, but during our conversation we were able to know that NNPC is working hard to tackle this situation. So we are certain that in the coming days petroleum products should be available and circulate widely.”

Gillis-Harry, however, stated that marketers could not confirm the claim of thunderstorm disrupting the loading of products at jetties, as stated by NNPC.

“Rather, as far as we are concerned there is a supply glitch which is now being addressed by NNPC,” the PETROAN president stated.

Gillis-Harry stated that to get a lasting solution to fuel scarcity and queues in Nigeria, the government and NNPC must work with downstream oil sector operators.

“We had recommended that NNPC should have a clearly-defined council made up of all the grassroot knowledge of the business so that when we sit down and discuss we can always project what is likely going to be our problem based on empirical evidence. We should be data-driven by the design and plan that we put together,” he stated.

Inadequate supply

However, a major dealer in the downstream oil sector insisted that there was inadequate supply of PMS by NNPC and that this was due to shortage, adding that the queues had spread to Lagos.

“The product is not there. If the product is there people will lift it and there won’t be queues. So I don’t think the queues will disappear any time soon, it might drag till weekend.

“This is because even in Lagos, when I was coming to office today, I saw queues from the MRS station in Alakaa to around the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.

“So there are queues in Lagos too, not just in Abuja and states in that axis. The government and NNPC will keep assuring Nigerians, but it is until we see the product that you can say their assurances are true,” the dealer, who spoke anonymously due to lack of authorisation to speak on the matter, stated.

The marketer further noted that there was no guarantee that the queues would clear in the next few days, particularly in states far away from loading depots in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Warri and Calabar.

“I don’t think the queues will clear any time soon and not tomorrow because depots are not loading. I know the kind of pressure that came on me today, people pleading that I should just put them on programme.

“But why should I put you on programme when the product is not there? And again there have been demands to supply the limited products available to Abuja. So I can’t put you on programme until we are sure of the presence enough product,” the source stated.

This came as NNPC explained on Monday that the queues in different parts of the country were due the recent thunderstorm and challenges of logistics that disrupted activities at fuel loading jetties.

NNPC’s spokesperson, Olufemi Soneye, disclosed this in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, as the scarcity of petrol grew worse.

“The NNPC Ltd wishes to state that the fuel queues seen in the FCT (Federal Capital Territory) and some parts of the country, were as a result of disruption of ship-to-ship transfer of petrol between mother vessels and daughter vessels resulting from recent thunderstorm.

“The adverse weather condition has also affected berthing at jetties, truck load-outs and transportation of products to filling stations, causing a disruption in station supply logistics.

“The NNPC Ltd also states that due to the flammability of petroleum products and in compliance with the Nigerian Meteorological Agency regulations, it was impossible to load petrol during rainstorms and lightning,” the company stated.

It stressed that “adherence to these regulations is mandatory as any deviation could pose a severe danger to the trucks, filling stations and human lives.”

The national oil firm further stated that the development was compounded by consequential flooding of truck routes which had constrained the movement of PMS from the coastal corridors to the federal capital, Abuja.

“The NNPC Ltd is working with relevant stakeholders to resolve the logistics challenges and restore seamless supply of petrol to affected areas.

“Already, loading has commenced in areas where these challenges have subsided, and we are hoping the situation will continue to improve in the coming days and full normalcy will restored.

“The NNPC also calls on motorists to avoid panic buying and hoarding of petroleum products,” the company stated.

Situation in states

Residents of Ogun State bought PMS at between N700 and N750/litre in most of the independent filling stations in the state on Monday.

It was, however, observed that some of the filling stations did not sell the product to customers on Monday. The filling stations that had queues were the ones operated by NNPC and it was because they dispensed PMS at N580/litre.

But in Sokoto State, the fuel scarcity persisted on Monday, as residents decried the situation and the hike in the pump price of the commodity to between N900 and N950/litre.

Most independent marketers in Sokoto did not dispense petrol on Monday. A motorist, Salami Isa, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said most of the filling stations were selling at exorbitant prices.

“The fuel issue is getting out of hand now as things are just too expensive and we still have to pay through our nose to get fuel,” he stated.

PMS in Asaba, the Delta State capital and its environs was sold at between N730 and N790/litre.

Marketers such as Matrix, Northwest and RainOil sold petrol for as high as N730, while dispensed theirs at N765 in Asaba.

But in locations like Ibusa, Issele-Uku, Issele-Azagba, and Agbor, among other towns, fuel was sold at between N765 to N790/litre without queues.

However, long queues were observed at the  NNPC mega filling station along Benin-Asaba Express which dispensed the product at N590/litre.

There were no queues at petrol stations in Ilorin, Kwara State, on Monday, while petrol was still sold at between N600 and N750/litre in the state.


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