With the current situation in some filling stations across the country, the assurance from the management of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC last week that there will be enough petroleum product during the Yuletide, may not hold water, as fuel queues have resurfaced in Lagos, Sokoto and Ogun states. In Sokoto metropolis and its environs, motorists and commuters are experiencing hardship, as the queues, which started two days ago, became worse on Monday morning when motorists resorted to panic buying. Some of the filling stations belonging to Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria have increased the price of a litre of petrol from N145 to N150 per litre. At NNPC mega stations and other filling stations run by major marketers, the queues were longer, as they maintained the official price of N145 per litre, but were reluctant to sell to motorists. Some motorists on queue expressed displeasure about the situation and urged the government to act fast before it degenerated into a major problem. A motorist, Sifawa Ahmad said: “We were happy that fuel scarcity during the yuletide had become history, only for the problem to resurface now. “Efforts must be made to curb the problem, especially with the current socio-economic realities in the country.” Another motorist, Mary Onya, said the situation was a cause for concern and government must take immediate action. Mohammed Makera, the Sokoto Operations Controller of the Department of Petroleum Resources, said the problem would soon ease off. Makera said: “Expectedly, the problem will soon ease off as we will find out what the problem is and everything will be under control soon. “Officials of the DPR have embarked on sustained monitoring and surveillance and any marketer found wanting will face necessary sanctions.” He appealed for more patience and implored people to avoid panic buying in view of its associated dangers. In Lagos, Kwara, Edo and Ogun States, fuel queues have also resurfaced. In a lot of stations in Lagos, the number of pump being used to dispense products have been reduced, with many using maximum of two. The claim is that there was no longer product in the underground tanks to service others pumps. The Chairman of IPMAN in the South West, Debo Ahmed, said the queue was as a result of the exorbitant price of the products.
Ahmed said marketers will go on strike should the government fail to order DAPMAN to reduce the price at which they supply fuel to them. He said: “The queue in some parts of the country is a pointer to the fact that a major one is coming in the event the Federal Government is unable to avert it.
“We (independent marketers) really want the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to resolve the problem between the marketers and DAPMAN once and for all. “We cannot continue to buy fuel at N142 per litre from DAPMAN, while NNPC, which remains the only importer of fuel in Nigeria, is selling to DAPMAN at N133.28 per litre. “The margin is too high. “If marketers in Lagos are buying fuel at N142 per litre, how much do you think marketers in Ilorin, Kwara State will buy the product, when they add transportation cost to it? “The farther the distance the outlets of the marketers, the higher the cost of transportation.“In areas such as Benin, Akure, Kaduna, the price of transporting fuel to their desired locations (outlets) would be higher.”