…FG rejects bad  supplies from petrol importers

Stations with bad product shut down

Public should be patient — MOMAN, IPMAN

Scarcity worsens; distribution chain disrupted l80m litres withdrawn

We’re addressing the situation — Downstream regulator

By Theodore Opara, Transport Editor, Udeme Akpan, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Obas Esiedesa & Ediri Ejoh

The supply of petrol, yesterday, worsened in Abuja, Lagos, Oyo and Ogun states because of limited stocks, due mainly to  rejection of new supplies from importers of adulterated fuel into the country.

The case was particularly bad in some parts of Lagos, especially the island, where traffic gridlock grounded vehicular movements as a result of long fuel queues.

Although there were reports of car engines being damaged by the bad fuel, transport companies across the country said they had no report of any of their vehicles being affected by the product.

However, most of the transporters who spoke with Vanguard, said the negative effects could come up in future.

Mr. Jude Nneji, Managing Direct of ABC Transport, said the only negative impact at present is that the few filling stations with good fuel are hoarding the product, thereby causing scarcity.

“So far, none of our vehicles has shown signs of the negative impact of bad fuel but we are watching if such could come up in the next few days,” he stated

Another prominent transporter, who also spoke to Vanguard, expressed similar views as the ABC official and prayed that his company would not experience it at this difficult time.

Mr Nneji however, added that rising price of diesel is  threatening transport companies in the country. He said presently, a litre of diesel costs N400 and this is impacting negatively on our business. 

“You know that diesel, unlike petrol, is deregulated and the high price of crude oil in the international market presently is affecting the price in the local market here. He however, noted that the technical team in his company is working on the impact of sulphur in petrol in any eventualities in future.

Another prominent transporter, Chief Emmanuel Umuebe, Managing Director of Chukwudi Transport, expressed similar views with the Managing Director of ABC Transport and that his company should not experience it at this difficult time.

Investigations by Vanguard showed that the scarcity, characterised by long queues, was also fuelled by the temporary shutdown of retail outlets affected nationwide.

But a retail dealer at Satellite Town in Lagos, said in a viral video that the bad fuel damaged six of his pumps and some vehicles that bought the product from his station.

The dealer, operating under the franchise of Mobil, said he got supply of the product from Salonia Depot, and pleaded with the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPC, to urgently look into the matter.

Similarly, a staff of 11 Plc, said its station in Lagos was shut because the bad product it bought from a major depot destroyed the company’s pumps, customers’ automobiles and other equipment.

Further checks by Vanguard showed that although government as sole importer of the product has placed new orders, the product would take many days to arrive the country.

Consequently, industry leaders said it would take a while to achieve stability because the distribution and withdrawal of bad petrol culminated in the disruption of operations nationwide.

Stakeholders, including marketers and experts, said in separate interviews that the disruption of operations also resulted in shortages in some parts of Abuja, Lagos, Oyo, Ogun and other states.

We have system to track, withdraw bad product — MOMAN

Specifically, in his reaction yesterday, Executive Secretary, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, Clement Isong, said: “We have been working together as a team to tackle the situation. The Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, will soon issue a statement to inform the public.

“It is true that bad petrol was distributed. It was identified, tracked and withdrawn because we, at MOMAN have a robust structure and system to do it.

“It is like the coronavirus pandemic, we have done the isolation but it will take some days to achieve normalcy because the normal operations of the value chain has been disrupted.

“With the technical support team, made up of all stakeholders, working, there is hope that stability will be achieved nationwide. There is need for members of the public to be patient with us as we work to stabilise the situation.”

All hands on deck to restore sanity  — 11 Plc

Similarly, Managing Director, 11 Plc, Adetunji Oyebanji, said: “We are trying to manage the situation. All hands are on deck to bring about normalcy as soon as possible.  But, it might take some time because everyone is panicking at the stations.”

Also, the National Operations Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi,  said: “Already, the bad product has been identified and withdrawn from circulation. We are currently working with  government to achieve stability. The public should be patient because it might take the next few days as the process has been disrupted.”

FG withdraws 80m litres

Meanwhile, a source at the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, told Vanguard yesterday that the government had withdrawn about 80 million litres of the adulterated petrol from the domestic market.

The agency said in a statement yesterday:  “Limited quantity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as Petrol, with methanol quantities above Nigeria’s specification was discovered in the supply chain.

“Methanol is a regular additive in Petrol and usually blended in an acceptable quantity. To ensure vehicular and equipment safety, the limited quantity of the impacted product has been isolated and withdrawn from the market, including the loaded trucks in transit.

READ ALSO: Count us out of fuel scarcity — IPMAN

“Our technical team, in conjunction with NNPC Ltd, and other industry stakeholders will continue to monitor and ensure quality petroleum products are adequately supplied and distributed nationwide. The source supplier has been identified and further commercial and appropriate actions shall be taken by the authority and NNPC Ltd.

“NNPC Ltd and all Oil Marketing Companies have been directed to sustain sufficient distribution of Petrol in all retail outlets nationwide. Meanwhile, NNPC has intensified efforts at increasing the supply of Petrol into the market in order to bridge any unforeseen supply gap.”

Checks around Abuja yesterday showed that only a few major marketers sold the product with all independent stations shut. As usual, black marketers had a field day as they sold a litre of petrol for N250.

 ‘Unbearable business environment’

In a related development, the distribution disruption is set to escalate further as the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) yesterday threatened to withdraw their trucks from hauling the products across the country over rising cost operations.

The National President of NARTO, Alhaji Yusuf Lawal Othman, in a statement in Abuja, described the business environment as “unbearable”, and urged the Federal Government to urgently address the challenges.

Alhaji Othman disclosed that NARTO members were finding it increasingly difficult to sustain the business because the freight rate is regulated and paid in arrears.

Currently, the cost of freight as contained in the premium motor spirit template is N7.96 per litre.

He said the truck owners would ask their driver “to park if nothing is done because we can’t operate in such way”.

He added: “Therefore, transporters whose freight rate is fixed and regulated cannot sustain the business if nothing is done. We can’t operate. We can’t work if nothing is done to increase the freight rate. The condition is unbearable because of cost of diesel”.

Othman appealed to the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, NMDPRA, to urgently increase the freight rate to reflect the present cost of Automative Gas Oil (diesel) and spare parts.

He disclosed that the ex-depot cost of diesel has risen to N401 per litre, saying it might  hit N420 per litre at the filling stations if something is not done urgently.

He also called on the NMDPRA Chief Executive Officer, Mallam Farouk Ahmed to urgently convene a stakeholder meeting to increase the freight rate and address other pressing issues of cost of operation.

“We are appealing to the CEO of the downstream regulatory agency. He has to sit down with us immediately and ensure that the freight rate is increased to reflect the rising cost of diesel and other spare parts,’’ he said.

On the rising cost of diesel, Othman explained: “We have a problem. Today (Monday), the price of AGO ex-depot is N401 per litre. It means that in Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, it will reach N420 to N430. At the filling station it will reach like N450”.

FG, stakeholders meet in Lagos today

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has agreed to supply 60 million litres of petrol today, February 9, 2022., while it has also concluded plans to hold a crucial meeting of stakeholders in Lagos to review the situation and take further actions towards tackling the problem.

Panic buying, gridlock in Lagos

In Lagos, the traffic gridlock in the city worsened as motorists and consumers, for the second day running, stormed fuel stations in panic buying of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, (petrol).

The effect was mostly felt in areas such as: Lagos Island, Ikeja, Ojota, part of Alimosho, Agege, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, LASU-Iba Road, Ikoyi, among others.

Motorists were seen in the early hours, on queue at Mobil Fuel Station, Council-Ikotun Road, Alimosho Local Government Area, where PMS was dispensed via only one nozzle point with four others inactive.

Also at the fuel station on Egbeda road, Lagos, fuel attendants were seen turning back motorists from entering their premises, claiming insufficient products.

The situation has resulted in total confusion and long queues of vehicles at various filling stations.

The scarcity was first noticed on Monday when long queues of vehicles were discovered around fuel stations as motorists struggled to buy petrol, which demand was said to have been accentuated by power blackout.

However, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, Limited, in a tweet by King Adewale Ojomo, yesterday, attributed the current fuel scarcity in some parts of Lagos to importation of bad fuel in circulation, saying it was capable of damaging engine of vehicles.

Prices hit the roofs in black markets

Meanwhile, hawkers yesterday took over the space, selling petrol to motorists for price ranig between N300 and N400 per litre in some parts of Lagos.

Nigerians’ react on social media

Meanwhile, the social media was yesterday awash of reactions of Nigerians over the ongoing scarcity.

Thrones @_phecy said: Fuel scarcity has started, this is because the current government has destroyed this country. This is because of their political ambitions for this coming election, they have refused to take away the fuel subsidy, which they know will surely happen with or without this government.

A social media pastor, tweeted via @Olubankoleidowu: “We are finished! This fresh fuel scarcity is reminding us of what decision we should make come 2023. Nigerians be wise. God will not come down from heaven to fight your battles, that was why he gave you brain”

Prince Adeleye @doublePrince: Fuel scarcity everywhere, I thought APC said it’s a thing of the past?

Eugene @itsmr_extra: It wasn’t done in Nigeria. A bad batch of about 100m litres with high sulphur content was imported and distributed. Govt has asked stations with that batch to stop selling so it can be recalled. Basically the reason for fuel scarcity.

Iamyetz @Crezia8: Who then pays for the damage the NNPC bad fuel has caused cars, generators of Nigerians? So sad to know that the citizen bears it all, even in this economic hardship we find ourselves today. Nigeria my country!

Ladi@LadiSpeaks: Who takes responsibility for selling bad fuel to people and spoiling their cars in Nigeria?

Wale Adebajo @Walebajo: Bad #fuel in the market and who is suffering for it? How that the fuel pass through all the regulators we have in #Nigeria and ended up in the market is amazing!. So, it’s back to long queues and increase in transport fare. This is beside effect on car engine. Sigh!

Silas Patrick Dung @silasdung: Bad fuel in town, Nigeria my country never serious with quality control. How did we import such bad product in the first place and who will fix damaged cars as a result of this bad fuel?

Linus@linusNoni: NNPC imported bad fuel into Nigeria because only NNPC imports fuel and till now nobody has been arrested for this act of sabotage. In Kenya electricity officials were arrested for not reporting damage in high tension cables and remanded in prison. Nigeria needs overhauling.

VANGUARD NEWS NIGERIA

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.