17 August 2012

Nigeria: Fuel Scarcity - Black Market Operators Take Over Abuja Again

Photo: Vanguard
Cars queuing for fuel in Abuja.

With barely 24 hours to Sallah, the business of black market operators of petroleum product is booming again in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) following the scarcity of fuel that is rocking the city.

During a trip round the city, LEADERSHIP observed that most filling stations were under lock and key due to the unavailability of the product, but long queues of vehicles were still seen in some of these stations.

Most drivers had no alternative but to buy from black market operators who were seen boisterously selling the product at very exorbitant rates. A 10-litre gallon of fuel was sold for between N3000and N3,500, while a 20-litre keg was sold at N5,000 last, and 25litres at between N7,000 and N7,500.

When LEADERSHIP visited the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mega Station, it was noticed that the station was also under lock and key, but Forte Oil, the filling station opposite it was selling to motorists, but under strict conditions.

Speaking to some motorists, most of them complained against the way most of the fueling station attendants went going about the sale of the product at the station, with some accusing them of collecting money from the drivers before they were allowed to go into the station to buy fuel.

Chikodili Elemba, a taxi driver, said: "the country is corrupt in everything. I have been here since 8am but the main line (queue) is not moving. It's now 7pm. People have been cutting corners. They will go by the side and give the management of the filling station some money, and they are allowed to go in and buy the fuel."

Another driver, Chidubem Elendu, who spoke to LEADERSHIP, said he had not eaten anything since morning and was afraid to leave the queue for fear of losing his position to other people.

"I have been here since morning, around 9am. There was no food to eat here. I just got this food I am eating now. I am hoping that it will get to my turn soon, but the way things are going, I think I might just push my car to a safe place and head home, because it is getting late," he said.

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