*Scarcity persists as NNPC, IPMAN differ over availability of product
*Queues persist in Abuja, Lagos, Osun, Kaduna, Kano, others
*We have over 1.8 billion litres of PMS, no plan to raise pump price —Kyari
*There is short supply in the system –IPMAN
*Subsidy: Senate President Urges Buhari to transmit bill to amend PIA
By Dayo Johnson, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Jimitota Onoyume, Henry Umoru, Sebastine Obasi, Bashir Bello, Dennis Agbo, Peter Okutu, Prince Okafor, Ozioruva Aliu, Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo, Obas Esiedesa, Shina Abubakar & Ikechukwu Odu
As fuel scarcity persists in Abuja, Lagos, Enugu, Ondo, Osun, Kaduna, Kano, Warri and many other cities nationwide, Group Managing Director of NNPC Limited, Mallam Mele Kyari, yesterday, maintained that there is enough petrol in stock to commence loading of trucks at all depots, a position disputed by Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN.
National Operations Controller of IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi, however, insisted that there is short supply in the system, as evident in the long queues visible across the country.
On his part, the President of IPMAN, Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo, said ex-depot price by depot operators and the inability of some independent marketers to get products had contributed to the lingering scarcity.
Kyari told journalists in Abuja, shortly after a meeting with the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG and Petrol Tanker Drivers, PTD, a branch of NUPENG, that with over 1.8 billion litres of petrol in storage, the queues will disappear in the coming days.
READ ALSO: Fuel scarcity: Motorist slumps, as consumers resort to clashes at filling stations in Lagos
His words: “Currently, we have over 1.8 billion litres of PMS in our hands both in marine and on land.
“This also means that we now have capacity to load out excessively from all depots. We have put in place measures to ensure 24 hours loading in all depots.
“This will ensure that scarcity created by panic buying will now be freed so that normalcy will return to filling stations.
“Typically in situations like this, people go to the filling stations and buy in excess of what they need and this is what additional supply will resolve. I am very sure that very soon we will see relief on this.”
Kyari, who emphasized that neither the Federal Government nor the NNPC has any plan to raise the pump price of petrol, called on marketers to ensure that they sell petrol at the price approved by government.
He noted that following meetings with Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, DAPMAN, NUPENG, and MOMAN, the stakeholders have agreed that the corporation should carry out “necessary sanctions on any marketer found selling petrol above approved price, including refusal to sell PMS to stations or depots.
“Additionally, the authority will carry out necessary sanctions allowed by law on any defaulting depot owner and this will ensure that Nigerians will continue to buy the product at the approved price.”
Apologising for the pains Nigerians are experiencing at filling stations, he appealed to consumers to avoid panic buying and to buy only the quantity they need at filling stations.
Meanwhile, one of the major marketers, who preferred not to be named told Vanguard that some marketers are hoarding products thus creating artificial scarcity.
“They are looking at a possible way of gaining from the hardship Nigerians are facing now,” the marketer said.
There is short supply in the system —IPMAN
National Operations Controller, IPMAN, Mike Osatuyi, said: “ There is short supply in the system, and when there is short supply, the queues will be more visible.
“The system is very dry. The truth is that there is no petrol in the country. NNPC said there is over two billion litres of petrol in the country, where is the product?
“We are the marketers, we believe in buying and selling to make more money. Nobody will hoard what he does not have.
“In the past 11 days, I have been waiting for the product. Even the one I got today, I bought it from a third party. We are hoarding product? We are holding back our capital? Bear in mind that that can’t be true because if there is a surge in supply, automatically we will be on the losing end.”
IPMAN President, Mr. Okoronkwo, however, urged the Federal Government to urgently intervene in the supply challenges being experienced by his members.
Okoronkwo said increment in the ex-depot price by depot operators and inability of some independent marketers to get the product had contributed to the lingering scarcity.
Transport fares skyrocket in Lagos
As fuel scarcity bites harder, the quest for petroleum product has taken a chaotic dimension in Lagos, as motorists and consumers engage in free-for-all at some filling stations dispensing the products.
An unidentified motorist, in his 60s, at a filling station around Igando, slumped, yesterday, due to exhaustion believed to have been caused by long wait on a queue.
The victim was later revived by sympathisers and people around after applying first aid treatment. Meanwhile, the lingering fuel scarcity has continued to take its toll on commuters, who complain of arbitrary increase in transport fares.
Vanguard checks, yesterday, showed that there is a 50 per cent increase in fare on the Ojodu-Berger to Ikeja, route as commuters paid N300 as against N200 previously paid. Same was the situation to the Ojodu-Berger to Ojota route.
“Ojodu-Berger to Ogba shot up to N150 from N100, while Ojodu-Berger to Agege recorded N50 increase as the fare went from N150 to N200.
“Most filling stations on the aforementioned routes had long queues as some of them sold fuel at not less than N200 per litre, while some others shut their premises to motorists.
Some petrol stations around Amuwo-Odofin, Festac and environs, had their gates shut against motorists, while the few that were dispensing had long gueues.
A transporter, Mr. Festus Oredola, told our correspondent that the fuel scarcity has continued to take its toll on the sector as transporters now charge commuters according to the fuel price they bought.
He said: “The present increase in fare is not deliberately caused by commercial drivers. We calculate the fare based on the price of petrol that we buy from the black market.
“Today, I bought five litres of petrol from security men at N2,000 which is N400 per litre. Petrol scarcity has also affected the price of food stuffs.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government and the NNPC to help us find a solution to this issue of petrol price.”
At NNPC, Second Rainbow, on the Oshodi -Apapa expressway, long queues were seen as motorists took over a greater part of the road.
Though a litre of petrol is sold at N165, the attendants compelled motorists to part with N500 before filling their tanks.
One of the attendants, who chose to be anonymous told Vanguard, “We shouldn’t be deceived, the product being imported is not much to cushion the lingering scarcity.
“So, many of us don’t have product to sell and if we have, we wouldn’t wish anyone to go through this pain and displeasure of this sort. If the supply is enough, we wouldn’t be having this horrendous experience.”
At Ogba, motorists queued for hours at the filling stations around seeking to buy fuel, with some spending as much as six hours or more while others kept a vigil on fuel queues, so that they can be among the first to be served the next morning.
At Alimosho, Isolo and Ojo areas, only few filling stations were selling at the official price of N162 per litre, while others were selling from N200 and above per litre.
Touts, miscreants have taken advantage of the situation to buy fuel in kegs and resell at black market price to motorists at higher prices. At one of the filling stations at Ikotun, Alimosho area, consumers and motorists engaged in a free-for-all in an attempt to buy the product.
The clash degenerated to the use of dangerous weapons such as cudgels, broken bottles, spanners, and iron rods, among others.
It took the efforts of security personnel around and residents to restore normalcy. However, it was gathered there was no loss of life but several people sustained injuries in the process.
Another popular filling station, Bovas, around Idimu in Alimosho area, also recorded violent clash as some miscreants went on rampage, disorganising the order of the queue. The manager of the station had to quickly terminate further sales of fuel to check the situation.
Meanwhile, the scarcity has led fares to increase by more than 300 per cent for both inter and intra-city transport. Commuters have lamented high cost of fares. A trip that usually cost between N100 and N200 for short-distance has risen to as high as N300 and N400.
From Iktotun to Egbeda that usually cost N200 has risen to N400, as well as other short journeys.
A commuter, Mr. Dayo Akinbayo, narrated: “I have dropped my car at home because of this scarcity that has dragged for weeks. I don’t have the strength to struggle at the filling stations everyday.
“We are helpless, government has left us to our fate. If the Federal Government wants to increase the pump price, they should do so and save us this trouble and untold hardship that has led to further corruption in the sector.”
Black market operations boom in Ondo
The scarcity of petrol across Ondo State, worsened, yesterday, as long queues characterised the pockets of filling stations dispensing the product to motorists.
Commercial and business activities remained totally paralysed across the state. Black market boomed as the product was sold for between N300 and N400 per litre.
A five litre of petrol was sold beside a major marketer petrol stations for between N5000 and N7000 at black market rate. In Akure, the state capital, only few major marketers sold the product to motorists at the pump price, and had long queues.
Many of the independent marketers petrol stations sold for between N300 and N400 per litre.
Transport fares jumped up by 100percentacross the state following the shortage and the high cost of the product, leaving commuters groaning. Some dealers interviewed said that the scarcity was nationwide and beyond them.
Motorists pleaded with the government to find a lasting solution to the situation that has paralysed the entire country.
Petrol sells for N190-195 per litre in Warri
Most filling stations in Warri, Effurun, Agbarho at press time were seen dispensing petrol but at pump price ranging between N190 and N195 per litre.
Motorists and buyers who came with jerry-cans lashed at the government for the increase in the pump price of petrol.
“Government should take steps to fix the price of petrol. Even big names in the market are selling above the approved price. Government should not allow this situation linger on beyond this Friday,” a driver said when interviewed.
This reporter bought four litres in jerry-can at a filling station on Old Ughelli Road in Agbarho, though no queue was seen at the filling station.
Edo motorists groan over exorbitant fuel prices
Motorists have been passing through hectic times buying fuel across Edo State.
Almost all the filling stations in the state capital, except NNPC mega station on Sapele Road close to the Police State Command, Conoil by Akpakpava popularly called Madam 200 and Buvel have been selling above the official pump price.
Most of the stations sell between N195 and N220 per litre, while black market at the popular Iyaro sells for as much as N300 per litre or more.
A motorist said: “I have become very economical because getting fuel is hell except you are ready to pay above the official rate.
“Right now, what I do is once I get to the office, I don’t drive out until I close for the day. I do any other movement using public transport even though it creates some inconveniences.”
Black marketers reign in Kano
Black marketers in Kano State have continued to record brisk business as PMS scarcity persist in the state. Our correspondent observed that a 4-liter gallon of fuel is sold for between N1,200 and N1,300 in the state.
The black marketers could be seen scattered across the state while commuters were left with no option than to patronise them. Our Correspondent who went round the metropolis observed that a sizeable number of filing station have closed shop while those dispensing have long queues.
A motorist, Yakubu Salisu said he depends on black marketers to fuel his car and carry out his day-to-day activities.
“I just bought a gallon of the fuel from the black marketers and proceed to where I was going because I can’t stand the long queues at filing stations.
“In fact, i have resolved to get back home and park my vehicle this evening when I fortunately ran into a filing station dispensing fuel without long queue.
“I bought the fuel at normal price of N165, and that will keep for sometime now,” Salisu said.
Nasiru Yusuf, another motorist, said he bought the fuel for N240 on Panshekara Road.
Another motorist, Kola Oyelere said he now uses commercial tricycle to move around as he was forced to park his vehicle at home due to the persistent fuel scarcity in the state.
Pump price increases in Ebonyi
The price of PMS has increased within and outside the Abakaliki metropolis of Ebonyi State. The price of the petroleum product ranges from N190 to N205 in the state. While Haris Filling station, JESCO Oil and Brass Oil sold at N200 within the capital, the same product was sold at N205 and beyond outside the capital.
In a chat with a motorist, Mrs. Chinonso Peters, who expressed dissatisfaction over the increase, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to help Nigerians by intervening in the petroleum sector.
“The increase in fuel price came at the wrong time as most Nigerians are even finding it difficult to eat three square meals.
“How can we be naturally endowed with crude oil and still be paying so much for fuel in this country. It is not normal at all. The present administration should intervene urgently without further delay.
“Our children are at home because of ASUU and at the same time, the cost of fuel has increased. This hardship is not necessary. Something should be done by all those in the petroleum sector, including the marketers and operators at the Depot..”
Meanwhile, in Port Harcourt, River State, due to the scarcity of fuel, the product was sold for N300 per litre.
Fuels sells for N200 per litre in Enugu
The pump price for PMS, in Enugu state is now N200 per litre. The pump price rose last week from N165 per liter to the new price without notice.
A manager at one of the filling stations, Ifeanyi, told Vanguard that his boss asked him to adjust the price because there was scarcity of petrol.
Meanwhile, the NNPC retail outlets have all shut down their stations, with some Independent marketers stations are running out of stock. Most motorists in the state have reduced their driving habits by limiting themselves to only necessary outings.
Petrol sells at N210-N220 in Nsukka
Pump price of PMS, sold between N210 to N220 in Nsukka metropolis, Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State and environs, yesterday.
Vanguard monitored the situation and observed that there were no queues at the petrol stations except at RainOil, a petrol station at Odenigbo Round About, Nsukka, where buyers confirmed that the management was selling with the best metre amongst all the petrol stations in Nsukka.
“We decided to queue here because this is the only petrol station that dispenses fuel with good metres in Nsukka town,” Mr. Thomas, a commercial cyclist said.
Passengers also told Vanguard that the increase in price of PMS, has affected transport fare by more than 10 per cent.
Scarcity bites herder in Osun, residents groan over price hike
Long queues were seen across filing stations in the state, as most of the station have increased their pump price from N162 to N250.
Civil servants have dumped their cars and joined public vehicles to work, as some motorists claimed that some filing stations, despite hike in price, under dispense the product.
One Mr. Lawal Atobale, said: “I stayed on the queue for three hours and after getting to the pump, the price was hiked to N230. I am not sure that the 15 litres I bought was really 15litres.
“I can no longer use my generator at home due to the hike in price,” he said
Fuel crisis in Kaduna
In Kaduna, fewer vehicles were on major roads, as long queues were seen at filling stations, while there is hike in transport fares.
Abduraheem, a driver, told Vanguard that he left home as early as 5a.m., yesterday, to join a queue at a filling station on the outskirts of Kaduna.
“After queuing for over three hours, we were told the fuel had finished. I can’t go back home in my car because the little fuel inside would end up overheating my fuel pump thereby causing more damage.
“I’ve to abandon work today and continue waiting inside my car together with others, until another tanker brings fuel to the filing station again,” he said.
Abduraheem is not the only one affected by the fuel crisis in Kaduna. Hajiya Badira was in agony as her car had developed series of faults since she bought a 10 liter of fuel from a roadside hawker.
According to her, “What I hate in my life is to join a long queue for fuel. Some of these queues are up to a kilometre. I bought from a chap who assured me that the fuel was good.
“Sadly, I’ve spent close to N20,000 now at the mechanic workshop. The fuel was adulterated. It affected the smooth running of my car.”
For operators of petty businesses, who relied on generators, they have to increase the cost of their services to about a hundred percent.
Likewise commercial bus drivers and tricycle operators. These have made some city dwellers resorted to trekking, while others preferred staying at home unless it becomes very necessary to go out.
Fuel subsidy: Senate President Urges Buhari to transmit bill to amend PIA
Meanwhile, the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan has urged the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to transmit a bill to the National Assembly to amend the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA.
Lawan disclosed this yesterday at plenary before he referred the President’s request for the amendment of the 2022 Appropriation Act to the Committee on Appropriation after the bill scaled second reading.
According to him, a request seeking an amendment to the PIA would enable the National Assembly extend the subsidy regime in the PIA to be in line with the President’s request for an additional N2.557 trillion naira to cover fuel subsidy in the 2022 budget from July this year.
The present subsidy regime is expected to elapse in June 2022, in accordance with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act.
President Buhari, in a letter to the National Assembly dated February 10, 2022, had requested it to make an additional provision for N2.557 trillion to fund petrol subsidy in the 2022 Budget Framework from July this year.
Lawan, therefore, mandated the relevant oil and gas committees of the National Assembly to engage the Executive on a bill to amend the PIA to align with the President’s request.