Motorists Spend Nights in Abuja Filling Stations as Petrol Supply Dries Up

The current petrol scarcity in Abuja and several other states in Nigeria worsened at the weekend, with motorists keeping vigil at the few filling stations that were open for business at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).At Wuse Zone 1, in the early hours of Sunday, 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.A number of the filling stations, including Total on Sultan Bello, in Wuse 3, remained shut as the petrol supply crisis which began a few days ago, took a turn for the worse, distorting social and economic life in Abuja and environs and many other states

Aside Abuja, Nasarawa, Niger, and other states close to the federal capital were affected by the petrol supply challenge, leaving many commuters stranded.Motorists besieged the few filling stations, including NNPC, resulting in long queues on Obasanjo Way, Zone 1, Conoil, as well as Total filling stations opposite the NNPC headquarters in Abuja.

It was the same story at NNPC, Mabushi, Zuba, Niger State at AYM Shafa, NNPC outlet on Arab Road, Kubwa, Nyanya, Nasarawa State, among others. The situation was the same at stations owned by AA Rano, Mobil, NIPCO, and Ardova Plc.While the NNPC Mega Station still sold petrol for N617 per litre, Eterna, in Wuse 2, for instance, dispensed at N695 as of Sunday morning, even as roadside black marketers were seen making brisk business.

The petrol scarcity also worsened at the weekend in Ilorin and other parts of Kwara State. Residents of the state had been experiencing fuel scarcity for almost five days without an end in sight.Already, a litre of petrol sold between N750 and N2,000 in the state, depending on location, THISDAY observed. The development led to rise in Okada fares across the state.

It was further learnt that in Kwara North senatorial district of the state, a litre of PMS sold between N2,000 and N2,500, with this seriously affecting the socio-economic life of people in the area.THISDAY checks revealed that some filling stations owned by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) in the state were locked.Some major petrol dealers, like Total, NNPC stations, and AP, among others, sold to motorists, but with long queues at the affected stations.

A civil servant, Mrs. Raliat Yusuf, decried the situation in view of the economic predicament in the country.Yusuf said, “With this new trend of fuel scarcity, I don’t know how I will be going to work tomorrow (Monday) because of the worsening fuel scarcity and, more importantly, the motorbike owners do not have fuel to do their businesses.

“I believe this is not what the government promised us when they were campaigning and this is serious for us now. I want to appeal to the government to take urgent steps to address the situation.”Equally speaking on the development, the chairman of IPMAN in Kwara State,  Abdulateef Abdulrauf, said, “We are not hoarding fuel and we appeal to the members of the public to bear with us for now since it is a temporary situation and by next month, things will return to normal situation.”The situation had persisted, despite a statement by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) last week that the problem arose from logistics issues, and assurance that it had been resolved and was under control.

The statement by NNPL’s Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Olufemi Soneye, had said, “The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) wishes to clarify that the tightness in the supply of PMS currently being experienced in some areas across the country is as a result of logistics issues and that they have been resolved.”

But speaking on the matter, former Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Arise Television analyst, Dr Sam Amadi, said if the problem had been resolved it should not take this long to get back to normalcy.Amadi said, “Even my driver spent almost the whole night at the filling station. The queue was so long, he couldn’t get fuel. This morning, we had to queue and it took about four hours. I walked round when I was doing my exercise and the stations were locked.

“Just look at the economic cost and social distortion. And what makes this even more pathetic is that this is not the era of rigid regulation of fuel price. So, you can’t say we are buying at N185 to N200. Now, it has gone to N600, N700, N800 and even N900.”The fuel situation has increased the economic burden on Nigerians.  

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in its Transport Fare Watch for March 2024 that on a year-on-year basis, average fare paid by commuters for bus journeys within the city per drop rose by 49.55 per cent, from N648.16 in March 2023 to N969.32 March 2024.In air travel, the average fare paid by air passengers for specified routes single journey was N88,964.86 in March 2024, rising by 18.96 per cent from N74,782.43 in March 2023

NBS added, “The average transport fare paid on Okada transportation was N472.16 in March 2024, which increased by 0.92 per cent when compared with the value recorded in February 2024 (N467.84).”On state profile analysis, for intercity bus travel, the highest fare was recorded in Anambra State, with N9,700, followed by Akwa-Ibom with N9,000. The least fare was recorded in Kwara, with N5,500, followed by Ebonyi with N5,700.

Taraba State recorded the highest bus journey within the city (per drop constant route) in March 2024 with N1,450 followed by Ondo with N1,200. On the other hand, Abia recorded the least with N520, followed by Adamawa with N580.When the federal government removed fuel subsidy and opened up the market for competition in May last year, it was thought that the harsh realities of fuel scarcity and long queues at petrol stations across the country was over. However, that did not happen, as there had been intermittent supply disruptions

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