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SCARCITY!!! Excruciating Fuel Queues Back In FCT, Oyo, Yobe, Others

AbujaPress reports that Vehicular queues  have returned to filling stations in Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Oyo and Yobe states  in spite of an  assurance by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that it had enough Premium Motor Spirit (PMS),  otherwise known as fuel, to last the nation over 40 days

But, the  Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) yesterday insisted that its members had no fuel supplies from both the NNPC and private depots. It challenged the corporation to prove the availability of fuel to the consumers.

As the blame game lingered, motorists spent hours at filling stations in Abuja, FCT satellite towns, Ibadan and Damaturu in Yobe State. Commuters also had it tough getting to their various destinations as commercial vehicle operators and motorcyclists doubled their fares.

NNL reporter who monitored the situation around 10 am and 11.30 am yesterday noticed that the retail outlets between Kubwa and Zuba Expressway in the FCT did not sell fuel. Also, no station sold at Zuba,Giri junction and  Airport Road by Soka .

It was also a gruelling experience for residents of Ibadan on Sunday and Monday as many stations had their gates shut to motorists.

The worst-hit areas were  Akobo,  Ojoo, Bashorun, Idi-Ape, Iwo Road, Total Garden, Bodija, Mokola, Monatan, Agbowo, Eleyele, Ologuneru, Challenge, Molete, Oke-Ado,  Oje,  Samonda, Bodija, Sango and UI Gate.
A few stations that opened sold a litre of fuel for between N165 and N200 instead of N162. At the black market, operators cashed in  on the scarcity, selling a litre for as much as N300

The development left many commuters trekking long distances as they were fewer number of vehicles on the roads.

The usual  traffic snarls at the General Gas Area of Akobo, Aleshinloye/Railway Junction, Mokola Roundabout, Adamasingba, Dugbe, Sango Poly Junction, Amuoloko, Olorunsogo, Akanran, Orita-Aperin, and Elekuro were not noticed yesterday morning.

IPMAN Chairman in  Oyo and Osun states Alhaji Bukola Mutiu,  said only the NNPC was in a position to explain the cause of the scarcity.

Commissioner for Public Work and Transportation Prof Dawud Sangodoyin, described the scarcity as artificial.

He said: "On Saturday, we drove around Ibadan and filling stations were dispensing fuel. But it was surprising that on Sunday, they stopped dispensing. And the situation went worse on Monday (yesterday).

"If the NNPC task force can do their work, things will change. I am sure that Oyo State Government will also take some steps towards ensuring that things return to normal."

In  Damaturu, the capital of Yobe,  seven of the eight stations were shut down. The stations were  Total, AP and Hesen Petrol Station along Potiskum Road.   Only  Sedan Petrol Station at Gashua Road was open for business.

Also shut down at Gujiba Road were MB Maidoki Oil Nig. Ltd, AA Abuja and Sons Nig. Ltd and Dumburga Petroleum Ltd.

A tricycle operator, Tijjani Bakoro, alleged that most of the stations were hoarding fuel.

"Sooner or later, they are coming to sell fuel to  us because we know that they have fuel; so we will not leave until they come," he said.

Another operator, Aminu Mohammed, said the scarcity had brought untold hardship to him and his customers.

"Before this scarcity, I use between eight 10 litres per day at the cost of N165 per litre. But, now we are compelled to buy fuel from black marketers at the cost of N500 or above per litre. As a result of this, we increased the price of a drop, but commuters are refusing to pay," he said.

Chairman of  NUPENG, Petrol Station Workers (PSW) in the state, Kawu Hussaini,  denied the allegation that filling stations were hoarding fuel.

He said: " I am not aware of hoarding of fuel by any station in Damaturu. Nevertheless, we will go round and investigate and I want to assure you that if any marketer is found wanting, he will be sanctioned."

Hussaini, however, attributed the scarcity to the refusal by some truck drivers to load Damaturu-bound petrol as a result of security challenges.

He added: "Any truck loaded with petrol coming from Lagos, Port Harcourt or Kaduna to Damaturu must proceed to  the NNPC depot in Maiduguri for clearance before coming back to Damaturu because there is no depot here.

"Due to the incessant attacks by insurgents on Damaturu to Maiduguri Road, many of these drivers are shying away from carrying petrol meant for Damaturu."

The NNPC had in  a statement yesterday warned  fuel  marketers, especially IPMAN members, to desist from hoarding the product,

In the  statement by its  Group General Manager (Group Public Affairs Division), Dr Kennie Obateru, the corporation  urged the consumers not to engage in panic buying of fuel as there was no plan for the pump price hike.

Obateru said: "The corporation states that it has enough stock of petrol to keep the nation well supplied for over 40 days and urges motorists to avoid panic buying.

"It further called on relevant regulatory authorities to step up monitoring of the activities of marketers with a view to sanctioning those involved in product hoarding or arbitrary increase of pump price."

But,  in a telephone interview, IPMAN National Vice-President Abubakar Maigandi, insisted that NNPC and private depots were not selling to marketers.

"As I told you at the weekend, the private depots are not selling petrol. Besides, the NNPC depots are not selling to us. If the corporation says it has petrol, this week is enough for it to prove availability with abundant supply," he added.

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