Petrol queues in major cities stoke scarcity fears
The re-emergence of petrol queues in Lagos, Abuja and several cities in the country have reignited fears of another nationwide scarcity of the commodity.
Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, had earlier this year experienced a month-long petrol scarcity, which started in February, after some quantity of petrol with methanol above the country’s specification was discovered in the supply chain.
After days of petrol shortage in Abuja, the nation’s capital, was reported, long queues of motorists were seen along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ikorodu road, and the Lagos Island on Monday.
Findings by BusinessDay showed that motorists queued for hours at filling stations in different parts of Lagos, seeking to purchase fuel, with some spending as much as six hours or more.
Mike Osatuyi, national operations controller of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), told BusinessDay that the current shortage was caused by the failure of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company to ensure adequate supply of petrol.
He said while members of his union were active in loading and supplying the product across the regions, “they can only supply what is available”.
Asked if the scarcity had something to do with the agitation for price hike, he said: “I am not the government so I can’t answer this. Only the government can determine this.”
Efforts to get comment from Garba Deen Muhammad, the spokesman of the NNPC, on the situation were abortive last night as his mobile phone was said to be “switched off”.
Last week, the South-West zone of IPMAN threatened to direct its members to increase petrol and diesel pump prices.
Dele Tajudeen, IPMAN zonal chairman in the South-West zone, had claimed that his members had been unable to buy the products from any of the government-owned depots for the past six months, forcing them to purchase from private depot owners who he said had continued to take advantage of the situation.