4 September 2012

Nigeria: Fuel Scarcity Hits Abuja Again

Photo: Vanguard
Cars queuing for fuel in Abuja.

Fuel queues appeared again in Abuja on Tuesday but nobody is sure what the cause is this time.

On Aug. 15, queues were noticed in filling stations in Abuja after NUPENG stopped deliveries to the capital to protest the alleged non-payment by the Federal Government for fuel imported by oil marketers.

The strike was called off after one week.

The News Agency of Nigeria correspondents, who visited filling stations on Tuesday, reported that there were long queues of vehicles waiting to buy fuel.

Parallel markets for the product have emerged with a 10 litres selling for N3,000 against the normal price of N970.

One of the young parallel market operators, Akeem Muson, said he travelled to Keffi in neighbouring Nasarawa State to buy fuel for sale when he noticed the queues on Monday night.

A news conference called by the NNPC for Tuesday, apparently to explain the latest scarcity, was later called off. No reason was given for the action.

The Deputy Supervisor, Total Fuel Station Area 3, Mr Moses Audu, blamed the scarcity on inadequate supply of the product to Abuja.

He said his station ran out of stock after the last supply of product on Monday. "We are not getting regular supply in Abuja; we only had one yesterday and we have sold all.

"Unlike before we do have regular fuel supplies but since yesterday, we only had a supply of one truck which we discharged and sold to customers until about 10 a.m. today (Tuesday) when we ran out of stock.

"In an attempt to find out from the tanker drivers, they also told us that even the depot in Lagos had only 12 trucks to distribute nationwide but I believe before the end of today, we may get another supply.

At Conoil, Area 1, Mr Atai Obaka, a dealer, also claimed there was a shortage of supply from Lagos to Abuja, adding that most marketers were not importing petroleum.

"The marketers are not importing because most banks are not ready to give us loan as they are not sure of getting back their money.

"Right now, I have 240,000 litres of petroleum to be discharged and more is still expected to be transported down to Abuja but I don't know if we can get more.

"I feel government should rescue the situation by compelling the bankers to give loans to importers," Obaka said.

At the NNPC Mega Station, Central Area, Mr Stephen Yohana, said he did not know why there should be fuel scarcity after NUPENG had met with the Federal Government and agreed that there would be supplies of the product nationwide.

"For me, I think it's out of panic that most stations hoard the product; as for us, we have 300,000 litres underground and four trucks standing to be discharged.

"We are selling at the normal price to customers."

Mr Andrew Obande, a bus driver who plies the Wuse Market route, said passenger fare was still normal but might be increased if the scarcity continues. NAN

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