Residents of the Lagos metropolis on Tuesday experienced the return of fuel scarcity as long queues of motorists reappeared at major filling stations. The fuel situation became worst on Christmas day, as many filling stations did not have fuel to sell.
Some motorists said that they had spent hours on the queue waiting to buy fuel, adding that some of the filling stations had exploited the situation by increasing the pump price of their petrol. Some filling stations at Ikorodu, Bariga, Lagos-Badagry Expressway, among others, sold petrol at prices ranging between N100 and N120 per litre, instead of the regulated price of N97 per litre.
At Mallo filling station in Ikorodu, Mr Andrew Badru, a banker, said that there was no justification for the current fuel scarcity as the government had assured the citizens of abundant fuel supply during the Yuletide period. He said that most marketers were just taken undue advantage of the festive period to exploit the citizens.
“‘I bought a litre of petrol for N110, as against the regulated price of N97 per litre; this is an indication of exploitation,” he added. Another motorist, Mrs Ifeoma Vincent, however, urged the regulatory agencies to intervene and curb the arbitrary increase of the pump price of petrol by some filling stations in the city. She said that the development has compelled commercial vehicles’ drivers to increase their fares, adding that the drivers often cited difficulties in getting fuel as the main reason behind the increase.
“For instance, the transport fare for a trip from Ikorodu to Ojuelegba, which used to be N250, is now N700, while a journey to Ketu, which formerly cost N100, now costs N300. Apart from the hike in transport fares, the fuel situation has also affected the traffic situation, as parts of the roads have now been taken over by vehicles queuing for fuel,” she said. However, some marketers, who preferred anonymity, blamed the fuel situation on the inability of the NNPC to supply fuel to the filling stations.
The marketers said that the explosion at the NNPC pipeline at Ije-dodo in Ijegun, Ojo Local Government Area, also contributed to the scarcity of petrol. They noted that the incident could have worsened the fuel scarcity in some parts of the country, as the pipeline, which conveyed from Atlas Cove to Ejigbo, Mosimi, Ibadan, Ore, and Ilorin fuel depots had been shut.
A visit by NAN to some depots in Apapa also confirmed claims that almost all the depots had not received fuel since last week, as the depots’ owners said that they had not received any allocation from NNPC or Pipelines and Products Marketing Company Ltd. (PPMC). However, Mr Olumide Ogunmade, the Chairman of the Western Zone of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), condemned the incessant damage of the NNPC pipeline at the Ije-dodo area of Ijegun.
Ogunmade, who blamed the development on the activities of vandals, noted that the Ije-dodo axis was a route to all fuel depots, adding that the explosion at the pipeline was tantamount to cutting off the supply route from Atlas Cove. “‘Government needs to tackle pipeline vandalism holistically; we must not surrender to vandals,” he said.