•As PENGASSAN meets on strike today
By Sunday Etuka, Stanley Onyekwere Abuja and Edwin Olofu Kano
Despite assurances of adequate supply of petrol by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the swelling fuel queues that resurfaced in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) penultimate week has persisted, thereby widening commuters’ woes, as it spreads like wildfire.
Peoples Daily checks revealed that, as the persisting scarcity continues biting harder, many motorists were seen trapped at few petrol outlets selling the commodity in the Territory.
At most of the petrol stations selling the product within the city centre visited yesterday, motorists were trapped in long queues, with their vehicles blocking the entire road, thereby forcing other road users to move against the traffic.
However, the situation was not different in areas where the filling stations were not selling, but discharging, resulting to slow flow of vehicular and human movement there.
Checks revealed that illegal hawkers of petrol in jerry cans cashed in on the scarcity and sold the product between N200 and N250 per litre.
Also, commuters at the weekend were stranded at various bus-stops lack of commercial vehicles, while the few ones that were plying the road jerked up their fare by more than 50 per cent.
In Lagos, fuel scarcity still persists with major filling stations in the metropolis not dispensing to customers which have affected cost of transportation
Also in Kano, fuel scarcity persists in the city metropolis and its environs.
Our reporter observed that the scarcity started on Saturday, December 2, as unusual queues resurfaced in some filling stations, while many of them were closed in the commercial city.
The situation forced motorists to embark on panic buying, but it persisted as only few filling stations were able to sell the commodity.
It was also observed that most of the filling stations were closed as at yesterday.
Four liters of petrol was selling for N 800 to N 900 as against N 600 in the black market.
A motorist, Jamilu Na’isa, said he came out since early morning to buy the product but could not find any filling station selling it.
“I went round as many filling stations as possible in this city but could not find any that was selling petroleum. I had to buy two gallons at black market.
“We don’t know the cause of this scarcity, but we call on the government to contain the situation. We thought with the President Buhari government, scarcity of petroleum would be history”, he said
Reports from Jos in Plateau State indicate that fuel now sells for N170 per litre in the black market.
Recall, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu was ordered during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo last Wednesday to ensure that the scarcity does not go beyond weekend.
Nevertheless, despite the directive, motorists are yet to see the results of the promise, as they queue for hours at the fuel stations across the country to get the products.
NNPC had before now informed Nigerians that there was no plan whatsoever to increase the prices of petroleum products both at the ex-depot level and pump price ahead of the forthcoming yuletide.
The NNPC in a release said that the ex-depot petrol price of N133.38 per litre and the pump price of N143/N145 per litre have not changed noting that the Corporation has enough stock of fuel to ensure seamless supply and distribution of products across the country.
Meanwhile, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senoir Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) would be meeting in Abuja today to know fate on the proposed strike.
PENGASSAN has threatened to go on strike on Monday, if issues raised by the association are not properly addressed before the 7-day ultimatum.