Fuel Scarcity: Long queues persist as fuel stations resort to hoarding

Despite the increase in fuel allocation to 250 trucks daily by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to arrest the fuel queues which returned to major parts of Lagos on Sunday, the situation continued unabated yesterday, as majority of the fuel stations had a hectic day attending to motorists.

Majority of the fuel stations across some selected locations in Lagos have devised rationing as a strategy to continue to remain in business pending when normalcy returns.

A fuel attendant in one the retail stations in Ikeja who pleaded not to be named, told Daily Sun that they have a mandate from their manager not to sell above 10,000 litres per day, until they are certain of getting product from the depot.

At another location within the Ogba/ Ikeja axis, most of the fuel stations visited restricted sales to one or two pumps, thereby creating a disorganised atmosphere with so many cars in lane and few attendants serving them.

Meanwhile, petrol hawkers are making brisk business out of the current fuel shortage as majority of youth have taken to the streets to sell petrol in jerry cans.

For the illegal hawkers, a five-litre gallon of fuel is sold for N1,500 as against N725 while a 10-litre gallon goes for N3,000 as against N1,450.

Further checks also revealed that fuel stations within the city, especially the ones operated by major marketers and NNPC retail outlets were still selling at the approved retail price of N145 per litre while those belonging to independent marketers are now selling at N170 to N200 per litre.

The strategy deployed by those fuel stations selling above the approved retail price was for them to display N145 per litre on the pumps. But upon completing the purchase of fuel they revert to the use of calculators to arrive at the final price.

The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, had said on Sunday, that ships which commenced discharging since Saturday night had finished discharging, adding that in a couple of hours the long queues will disappear and normalcy will return to Lagos.

Ughamadu urged motorists to avoid hoarding of petrol and panic-buying, as there is sufficient product in stock that will last for days.

The NNPC spokesperson also acknowledged a slight hitch at the Port Harcourt Refinery due to power problem.

“Port Harcourt Refinery is slightly down for now, pending when the problem will be rectified” he said.

But, a manager in one petroleum marketing company, who pleaded anonymity told Daily Sun that the company was consistently loading and supplying to marketers, but the volume had marginally dropped.

“I can confirm we are currently loading but I don’t have the statistics; however, I must say that we don’t have enough supplies at the moment. I think that explains the resurgence of queue at filling stations”, he said.