Onitsha – Fuel queues have returned to Onitsha, Anambra, even as motorists pay higher for the products where they are available.
However the Department of Petroleum Resources on Tuesday said that the Federal Government was doing everything possible to ensure the availability of petroleum products nationwide.
The department’s Zonal Controller in charge of Sokoto and Kebbi States, Alhaji Umaru Moriki, said this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Sokoto.
Reacting to the current scarcity of petrol in Sokoto, Moriki said government was trying to restore normal supply across Nigeria.
The controller said only 34 trucks of petrol were received in Sokoto from Feb. 21 to Feb. 25.
A correspondent who went round the city on Tuesday observed that the situation had resulted to higher prices than the official pump price.
The commuters in the town are also groaning as they now bear the brunt of the high fuel prices, with buses charging N150 instead of N100 from one end of the town to the other.
Commercial motorcyclists and tricyclists have also increased their fares from N50 to N80 or above for a drop.
Speaking, a driver, Mr Chima Obimma, said the scarcity was uncalled for since it was not a festive season.
“People should stop creating hardship for others; the current hike in price and non-availability of fuel in some fuel station is purely man-made,’’ Obimma said.
A commercial motorcyclist, Mr Ikechukwu Madu, said the hike in fare was purely due to the current fuel price jump.
“Anytime there is normalcy, we will definitely return to the old price. But now, it is even difficult to get the product in some fuel stations, where they sell to their old customers,’’ Madu said.
Also, the Manager at Mac-Vicky Fuel Station, Mr Ifeanyi Okeke, said there was a shortfall in the supply of fuel to most stations.
Okeke noted that some stations now hoard the product and sell to a special group of people, who re-sell it at a higher price.
“We have shortfall in supply, which had necessitated the panic buying while unscrupulous fuel speculators are now ripping-off members of the public due to the development,’’ he said.
The Department of Petroleum Resources controller said only 34 trucks of petrol were received in Sokoto from Feb. 21 to Feb. 25.
“This figure excludes Sunday, Feb. 23 as there was a zero supply of petrol into Sokoto state on that day.
“The average daily requirement of petrol in Sokoto state alone is about 33 trucks and the same goes for Kebbi’’, Morilki added.
He said that the supplies covered those made to the NNPC mega stations, the major and independent marketers’ filling stations.
“The department is doing all it could to ensure that the limited supply reaches the desired destinations through sustained monitoring of all the filling stations.
The controller appealed to the residents to desist from panic buying due to its attendant consequences.
“I am also warning the marketers not to engage in sharp practices’’, he said.
The scarcity of petroleum products has hit Sokoto and its environs as none of the major or independent marketers’ filling stations was selling the product as at Tuesday.
This had resulted in long queues of vehicles at filing stations.
Alhaji Umaru Danladi, a motorist told NAN that he abandoned his car for the past 24 hours and just coming to see if there was petrol to buy.
He said that black marketers were making brisk business as a litre of petroleum was now selling for N135 instead of N97.
Malam Isa Habu of Dange Shuni town said the scarcity had made transporters to increase fares within and outside Sokoto metropolis.
“I paid N200 from Dange to Sokoto, a distance of about 22 kilometres instead of the usual N120.
He called on the federal government to address the matter urgently.
Reports have it that Total, Agip and Oando filling stations were not selling the product as only black marketers were seen selling. (NAN)