• Friday, June 14, 2024
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BusinessDay

Fuel scarcity, food inflation, power failures deepen Nigerian’s pains as motorists sleep at filling stations

Reminiscences of fuel scarcity

The impact of petrol scarcity, power outages and rising food prices is biting harder on Nigerians, leaving millions struggling to keep up with their daily activities and businesses.

The fuel scarcity that hit Lagos, Abuja and other cities across the country last week is yet to be resolved as Nigerians continue to queue for hours at petrol stations to buy fuel.

As of Thursday afternoon, it was observed that roads in Ogun, Lagos and others were deserted as vehicles lined up in filling stations to buy petrol. Some individuals said they had parked their vehicles pending the availability of petrol.

Also, the few filling stations where the fuel was available sold at prices considered to be too exorbitant.

“I went to this NIPCO filling station around 4: 30a.m. today, but I am just leaving now to start business around 11 a.m. I know people who have been in the queue since 2 a.m. this morning. Many of these keke drivers parked it because they couldn’t get fuel,” Ibrahim Gbadebo, a commercial bus driver said.

At Isolo, in the early hours of Thursday, motorists were seen sleeping in their cars, as a number of the filling stations, including the NNPC Mega Station and the AP filling stations opposite it, were closed.

However, when the facilities opened, some of the fuel queues had extended over one kilometre, with drivers who could not wait in the lines for as long as five hours buying 10 litres of petrol at the black market rate of N12,000.

“We are spending hours here queuing to buy fuel when we could have been doing something more productive with our time,” Festus Okotie, a Keke Napep driver said.

Amidst the continuing scarcity, several resident districts in Abuja and Lagos reported electricity outages.

Ikeja Electric Plc, the largest Nigerian power distribution company said in a message to customers on Thursday: “ We extend our apologies for falling short of the expected minimum service level of 20 hours on the Band A Feeders for 27th and 28th April 2024.

“We regret any inconvenience this may have caused you,” the messages read.

A power outage in Nigeria is not new news. Residents could go without grid electricity supply for days or months.

The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (Abuja DisCo) on Monday addressed a power outage affecting Abuja, citing a fault on the 33kV NIPP feeder and ongoing repairs at the transmission station in AT4.

According to the statement, residents in various areas are experiencing the outage due to the technical issues on these feeders.

“This is to inform residents in parts of Abuja that the power outage currently being experienced is due to technical fault on feeders L36, H23, H33 and 8 respectively,” Abuja DisCo said.

Power outage in Nigeria is no new news. Residents could go without grid electricity supply for days or months.

According to the World Bank’s 2024 estimates, over 85 million people or more than 4 out of 10 Nigerians are deprived of electricity.

“And even those connected to the grid face frequent power outages, at a huge cost for society and the economy,” a World Bank report said.

Adding to the frustration, Nigerians are also grappling with a surge in food prices.

According to SBM Intelligence, an Africa-focused geopolitical research and strategic communications consulting firm, prices of essential commodities have increased, with items like soap and fuel rising by over 150 percent in one year.

“The impact of inflation on consumer behaviours is profound. Nigerians, in response to skyrocketing food and energy prices, have had to devise various coping mechanisms,” SBM Intelligence said.