Nigeria: Fuel Scarcity Extends to Northern States

Barely few days after petrol queues resurfaced in Abuja, Nigeria's capital city, the scarcity has spread to other parts of the country, especially the neighbouring cities and other northern states.

This is as the group managing director, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd, Mele Kyari, has assured that the current fuel queues in filling stations in the country would soon end.

Kyari said this in Abuja yesterday when he appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on the state of refineries in Nigeria.

LEADERSHIP checks reveal that the scarcity has spread to Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa states, just as the petroleum products are also reportedly sold above the normal price of N165 per litre in Kebbi, Kano and other states in the north part of the country.

In Abuja where it started, the scarcity has intensified as longer queues line the few filling stations still dispensing the product. Regardless, black marketers are having a field day at various points selling ranging from N3,000 and N4,000 for four-litre keg of petrol.

Speaking on the situation, Kyari said that there is sufficient Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in the country to meet the nation's demand.

He said that the NNPC has a total of 2.8 billion litres of PMS in the country which was sufficient to meet the nations demand for the next 47 days without importation.

He attributed the current fuel scarcity in the country to hitches resulting from workers day and eld Fitr public holidays.

"During the holidays, truck drivers could not present trucks in most of the depot and because of that, there are some glitches around load out in the depots.

"We have corrected this, all trucks loaded out at the maximum today; we believe this is a very temporary thing, we believe with out 150 trucks coming into Abuja today and another 150 coming into Abuja tomorrow, the scarcity will soon go away," he said.

The GMD said that the hitches resulted panic buying saying it was cause the long queue at filling stations.

According to him, we have done everything possible so that people do not stay too long at the stations and this will soon finished.

Kyari said that the relevant authorities were taking steps to ensure that fuel hawkers popularly known as 'black marketers' do not take advantage of the situation.

He, however, said that once supply was maximised, the fuel hawkers would disappear effortlessly.

Earlier, Kyari told the committee that the reforms and turnaround maintenance done on the refineries in the past 25 years were not properly done.

He said when he came on board, the refineries were not adding value and the management decided to overhaul the system.

He said that the NNPC followed due process and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) granted approval for the overhaul the Port Harcourt Refinery and a contract of 1.55 billion dollars was awarded.

The chairman of the committee, Rep. Johnson Ganiyu (APC-Lagos) said that the committee has a mandate to determine the amount so far spent on turnaround maintenance.

He said that the committee also wanted to know what was required to get the refineries function optimally for the benefit of Nigerians.

In his ruling, the chairman adjourned the hearing to May 13.

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