Queues are beginning to mount across petroleum products retail outlets as most stations remain shut in Abuja, Lagos and Kano, Daily Trust reports.
It was observed that among over 20 retail outlets visited within Abuja, less than five were selling as vehicles lined up to buy the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also called petrol.
At the Shema station, in Katampe, our reporter counted over 80 vehicles in a row along the highway. Aliyu Musa, a driver said he had been there for an hour and estimated he could spend another 30 minutes before he would get the product.
"We have been seeing this sign since last week but it was not that bad. However, since Friday, the retail outlets have started drying up in my area around Lugbe," said Silas John, a commercial driver.
In the Mararaba area of Nasarawa State, none of the stations retailing petrol as of Thursday had the product on Sunday. However, a station notorious for black market sales has continued unhindered, selling petrol for N200/litre as against the approved N165/litre price band. Fortunately for it, motorists were queuing up to buy the product as other retail outlets remain shut.
In Kano, our correspondent observed that there were relatively short queues at filling stations that were dispensing the petroleum product.
It was observed that while some major filling stations in the city are still shut, others occasionally open for business and return to being under locks and keys after a day or two.
At the filling stations that are dispensing, it was observed that the relative queues depend on the time of day one visits the stations.
However, in some of the stations dispensing the product, motorists said some of them have retained a pump price above the approved N165/litre with some of them still selling between N180 to N200/litre.
In Lagos, there are no reports of queues but some retail outlets have also not opened for business indicating that they do not have the product to sell.
An official of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) revealed that most of its members are awaiting the loading of the consignment from the depots.
"The long break affected loading of products from the depots and that explains the queues you said you have seen in Abuja. Hopefully, as work resumes in earnest from Monday, the NARTO will begin to load products for us to our stations," the official noted.
As of April 27, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) said there were 984.236 million litres of petrol in stock capable of lasting for 17 days or slightly above two weeks. NNPC has 320.487m litres (representing 23% of the entire stock), the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) has 57.235m litres (just 6% of the stock) while the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) has 696.5m litres of petrol (71%).
However, petrol scarcity has begun ahead of the NMDPRA estimated stock days which would elapse on Friday.