IPMAN Holds Nigerians To Ransom 

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Fuel scarcity has worsened in Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT,  Niger, Nasarawa, Sokoto and other states of the federation. Investigations by AljazirahNigeria has revealed that many filling stations are no longer dispensing the product while there are long queues at the few stations that are operating as motorists struggle to purchase petrol.

The queues surfaced Monday morning and remained through Friday, as traffic gridlocks appeared across major parts of the affected cities while many service lanes were closed to traffic.

In Abuja, many filling stations in Wuye, the Central Business District, Wuse, Kubwa, and the Lugbe areas of the city sold petrol at prices ranging between N680 and N700.

However, the retail outlets of the NNPC continue to sell the product for N617 per litre.

Black marketers were also seen hawking petrol in jerry cans as interested motorists and other residents jostled to buy at prices ranging between N1000 and N1200 per litre.

It was noticed that in Lagos State many filling stations in Ikorodu, Ketu, Ojota, Maryland, Ikeja, Ojodu, Agege, Alimosho, Yaba, Ojuelegba, Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Lekki, Ajah, Amuwo-Odofin, Ojo areas were closed. The fuel scarcity made many commuters stranded while commercial motorists hiked their fares.

In Abuja, long queues were noticed especially at Conoil and Total opposite NNPC, Oando, Zone 4, Obat filling stations at Area 2 Junction and NNPC Berger Junction have more than doubled. The situation is no different from neighbouring states of Niger and Nasarawa, as the queues seem to be growing by the hour.

For instance, despite the fact that there are over 100 filling stations in Sokoto, but some filling stations sold the product as high as N750-N800 per liter with the resultant hike in transport fares and increase in the prices of goods and services in the state.

There are also allegations  that some oil marketers resolved to be taking turns to sell the product.

A commercial motorcyclist who declined to be named said there are over 100 filling stations within the state metropolis but that presently less than 30 of them sell fuel despite the information they have adequate fuel.

Findings by this newspaper revealed that some independent marketers in Niger and Nasarawa states also sold a litre of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise known as petrol for as high as N850 and N900 per litre 

The fuel scarcity  has left some workers in Abuja stranded as they struggled to move around. Workers who were able to make it to work were seen finding it difficult to return home, following the limited number of vehicles on the road.

One of the Abuja residents, Samuel Ujor said: “It’s a very serious situation here in Jikwoyi  and its environs Filling stations are closed. Passengers are stranded as some workers were forced to return home because of inability to get a vehicle. Those of us who were able to make it to work are now finding it difficult to go back home. If this continues I might have to sit at home.” 

Some commuters, who spoke to AljazirahNigeria, attributed the scarcity and queues to the alleged refusal of marketers to restock for fear of purchasing at a high rate only to find out that the government has reduced the pump price.

Another commuter, Fidelis Agba, explained that the magnitude of the queues was determined by the prices being sold. He said: “Some filling stations are selling at higher prices. In such places the queue is not too long but in stations selling lower, you will find very long queues because Nigeria now is hard so everybody is trying to manage.

“Since I didn’t have the patience to wait where fuel is being sold for N740, N780 for a litre, I was able to buy at N860 per litre at a filling station in Ado but I didn’t spend up to 10 minutes before being attended to.” 

But in Bayelsa State, there is no scarcity and change in the price of fuel at filling stations.However, it was noticed that at the NNPC Mega filling station, there were little queues as always since their stations sell for N595. 

The National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, PMAN,.Alhaji Debo Ahmed said only the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited,.NNPC Ltd, being the sole importer of fuel is in a position to explain why there is scarcity of the product.

He also said IPMAN members did not hoard fuel. “For now, we are not aware of what is causing this fuel scarcity because NNPC Ltd has not really come out to explain. It is only NNPC Ltd that supplies fuel so if they have not come out to give a reason for the scarcity,  we wouldn’t know why. We have just been asking them but we have not yet gotten the cause.”

But the Chief Corporate Communication Officer, NNPC Ltd, Olufemi Soneye, said the tightness in the supply of fuel being experienced in some areas across the country was as a result of logistics issues,. adding that they have been resolved. 

Soneye in a statement also reiterated that the prices of petroleum products are not changing. He urged Nigerians to avoid panic buying as there is a sufficiency of products in the country.

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