From Ayodele Samuel and Zainab Yusuf, Lagos
Fuel scarcity got worse in Lagos Metropolis yesterday, as residents lamented unavailability of PMS across the state even as some filling stations sold the commodity for N200 per litre.
Many commuters were stranded while vehicles that should be on the road were at filling stations struggling to get the product which was sold at between N150 and N200 per litre across the state.
Peoples Daily correspondents, who visited filling stations in Ejigbo gathered that the product was being hoarded by independent marketers, and sold at N250 per litre at the black market.
Commercial bus drivers also increased their fares as they charged from N150 to N300 from Toll Gate to Ikeja, while Ikeja to Yaba cost between N200 and N300 as at yesterday.
A commuter, who spoke to Peoples Daily in Ikeja said “The situation is unbearable. I couldn’t get to work yesterday. I returned home from the bus stop after realising that apart from the exorbitant transport fare, commuters became so desperate that they even injured others while rushing to board the few available buses.
National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG Tokunbo Korodo, said importers got their permits for the first quarter just last week and this has created a shortfall in supply.
He explained, most depots ran out of fuel supplies since two weeks ago forcing depots that usually loaded 200 trucks to load 25 trucks, causing rationing of the product.
He said the NNPC could save the situation by releasing petrol from its reserves.
Meanwhile the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC has supplied additional volume of 33 million litres of premium motor spirits to the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN for onward distribution to fuel stations across Lagos metropolis and beyond.
Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the Corporation, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, who confirmed this in a statement said the extra volume of 25, 000 metric tonnes of fuel , the equivalent of 33 million litres of petrol was supplied to the marketers as part of measures by the Corporation to end the artificially induced scarcity.
“While we intensify our ongoing direct monitoring of fuel stations across Lagos and its environs, we are providing the extra volume of product to eliminate the noticeable queues arising from the induced scarcity,’’ Dr. Ibrahim stated.
He appealed to marketers and members of the public to refrain from hoarding and panic buying.