The ‘Fuel War Room’ activated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to end petrol scarcity within two days is not yielding much result as many filling stations were locked yesterday in many cities across the country.
Our reporters witnessed long queues at petrol stations in few stations that opened for business in Abuja, Nasarawa and Kaduna, Kano, Jos and Lagos state, as motorists say they paid certain charges to beat the queues and fill their tanks.
A survey of the Abuja city showed that 26 fuel stations from the neighbouring Mararaba town of Nasarawa state through Nyanya to city centre and Jabi District in Abuja city were not selling petrol. Only eight stations were seen dispensing the product along the route with massive queues.
On the Zuba-Kubwa express road, more than half of the stations were locked.
Long queues in Kaduna
In Kaduna metropolis, our correspondent observed long queues at the filling stations with some off-loading the product while others were not selling.
Few of the marketers who sold the product at the approved price of N145 per litre now dispense at N195, while the roadside ‘black marketers’ were selling for N400 per litre.
Commercial transporters in the metropolis have also increased fares by 200 per cent, it was learnt. Yakubu Ibrahim, who resides at Angwan Dosa, said he was forced to buy at N400 per litre from a black marketer after futile efforts at filling stations around Sabon Tasha area.
“I have to buy four litres at the cost of N1,600 without bargain to power my generating set since PHCN has decided to compliment fuel scarcity and put us in broad day darkness,” he said.
Another resident of Gwamna Road, Kaduna South Local Government Area, Bulus Auta said, “The only thing I did for Christmas was to go to church this morning and immediately after that, I moved to the mega filling station along the bye pass where my car has been parked for two days to get petrol.
“I am a taxi driver and that is my only means of livelihood, if I don’t get fuel at controlled price, it will affect my business, I cannot even afford to buy the fuel at N400 per litre and that is why I have parked my car hoping to get the product at the approved price,” Auta noted.
Meanwhile people from other part of the state said they bought fuel between N250 and N300 despite monitoring by Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and sealing of six stations recently.
Motorists jump queues in Abuja
At the Asokoro MRS station in Abuja, some motorists abandoned the lengthy queue to form another which they called ‘Fast Line’ at the exit gate where they paid between N500 and N1,000 to the gate handlers to enter within 20 to 30 minutes.
Mr Segun Ogunleye, a taxi driver said the practice resulted in a scuffle between the station’s operators and angry motorists, who had patiently queued at the entrance gate only to see others enter through the exit gate and buy the product easily.
“They even stopped selling after the fight but an army officer who was patiently waiting in the lengthy queue resolved the conflict. Despite that experience, it has continued today (Monday),” he said.
It was also observed that although the fuel station sells for N145 per litre, filling a vehicle tank beyond N5,000 attracts extra N500 or more as demanded by the attendants.
One of the attendants, said it was a directive not to sell beyond N5,000 which was a little over 30 litres but that if anyone ‘cooperates’, the vehicle could be filled up.
It was the same case at the NIPCO filling stations in Jabi District and at Kuchingoro along Airport road. Other stations tolerating such practice are NNPC filling station Wuse Zone 1, and the MRS filling station Piwoyi area, along Airport road.
A motorist, Mr Chikwuka Ejike in Gudu area of the nation’s capital said he had to pay extra N500 to fuel attendant to fill his tank. “The fuel attendant at Utako’s NIPCO filling station said they were authorised to dispense just N3,000 fuel but could exceed it after demanding N500. I had no choice so I paid,” Ejike said.
“It is better to pay extra N1,000 to buy from filling station than to buy from black marketers where I am not sure of the quality of the product,” said Mr Sunday Rufus who bought the product around Kuchingoro.
At the NNPC Mega station at Central Business District near the GSM Village, the joint taskforce comprising men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), NNPC and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) were seen apprehending youth, engaged in ‘black market.’
Plateau residents celebrate Xmas at fuel queues
Some residents in Jos, Plateau State celebrated Christmas queuing at various fuel stations.
Shitla David who was seen queuing at a fuel station with his wife and two kids said he needed fuel to fulfil a promise he made to his kids last Christmas.
David said, “I promised to take them to a new amusement park at Du in Jos South, so if I am able to get fuel today then I can take them out tomorrow (Tuesday).”
Daily Trust also observed that fuel scarcity and a security directive banning operation of tricycles during the Yuletide period had led to low turnout at various recreation centres in the city.
Source: Daily Trust