Despite assurances, fuel scarcity bites harder, NNPC blames marketers, Nigerians groan
Fuel scarcity has persisted nationwide despite assurances from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu. Inquiries by our reporters showed that long queues still defined the atmosphere in all filling stations that sold the product. A good number of filling stations visited were ghost land as the managers claimed they had not received any consignment to sell.
Some of those which sold fuel did not only demand extra cash from motorists, they also hiked the price beyond the official rate of N145 per litre. At General filling station along Oshodi Road in Mafoluku, Lagos, the price was N160 per litre. The attendants used calculator to make sales.
A motor cyclist simply identified as Tunde was full of cursing as he was told the price per litre. He blamed it on leadership, saying “those in power do not care about us”.
Meantime, the NNPC has blamed the current petroleum scarcity in the country on marketers of the product.
The Group Managing Director of the company, Maikanti Baru, in a statement by Mr Ndu Ughamadu, the NNPC Spokesman, also said part of the problem was the rumours about purported planned increase in the pump price of petrol.
He stated that some marketers, in their quest to cash in on the situation, suddenly started hoarding products.
“But we swiftly swung into action by doubling our supply nationwide. At the time the rumour started, we had about 30-day sufficiency.
“The normal daily supply to the nation is 700 trucks, equaling about 27-30 million litres per day,’’ Baru said.
He assured that the corporation had doubled its daily supply of petrol, from daily 700 trucks (about 27 million – 30 million) litres per day supply to 80 million litres since the current hiccup in the supply chain was noticed a few days back.
He further assured Nigerians that the NNPC had enough products sufficiency that would last up to 30 days.
Baru, who expressed joy at PENGASSAN’s call-off of its planned strike, urged motorists not to engage in panic buying as the corporation had more than enough products for domestic consumption.
Assuring that the fuel situation would fizzle out this week, Baru warned marketers against hoarding, stressing that any filling station found wanting in this regard would lose its entire products to motorists.
He commended NNPC’s sister agencies, the Department of Petroleum Resources and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, for their support in helping NNPC tackle the menace of hoarding by filling stations.
Signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the Corporation and the Benue Government on the Agasha-Guma bio-fuels Projects, Baru said that at least a billion litres petrol-laden cargoes were expected by December.
He said the Bio-fuels Project would provide employment for the teeming youths in the state.
“I believe that Benue has what it takes to lead the country in the bio-fuels industry.
“I hope that your state will soon move from food basket to fuel basket of the nation,” Dr. Baru noted.
The Agasha-Guma bio-fuels project aims at developing Integrated Sugarcane Plantation and Fuel-Ethanol/Sugar/Power Plant Complex in Benue through a Special Purpose Vehicle.