By Ezra Ukanwa – Abuja

The undersupply of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol in Abuja continued on Wednesday, leading to over 100 per cent hike in transport fares, scores of motorists stranded and an abrupt shut down of small scale business in many parts of the nation’s capital.

This is coming barely a month after Nigerians suffered fuel scarcity which lingered for weeks as people scrambled to get petrol for their cars, and generators at a time of rising temperatures, despite the federal government assurance of sufficient stock of petroleum products for distribution across the country.

The immediate cause of the latest queues in Abuja remains unknown as filling stations in the Karu, Wuse, and Lugbe areas of the FCT sold petrol at prices ranging from N162 to N165

However, a VANGUARD correspondent who visited petrol stations around the metropolis Monday morning found that some filling stations were closed to buyers.

Vanguard gathered that not a single fuel station along Karu, Nyanaya-Karshi road was selling fuel on Sunday and Monday, which has over 10 fuel stations.

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FCT residents who spoke to our correspondent, lamented the return of fuel queues to filling stations across the city and the hike of transport fares likewise.

A long queue was seen at NNPC retail outlet in Karu and Rano filling station at Nyanya while Mrs oil, Dan oil and Danmarna petroleum limited, located along Lugbe airport road, were under lock Sunday morning.

A resident of Apo, who identified himself as Jaiyeola Emmanuel, pondered why fuel is scarce after the federal government assured Nigerians that the fuel scarcity was over.

He blamed the current situation of petrol scarcity on bad leadership, accusing FG of being dead to the plights of Nigerians.

He said: “This fuel scarcity is shocking and it has affected me in a lot of ways, some of which is the hike in cost of transportation. After work, I find it extremely difficult to get a cab going back home.

“The few days that I did drive, trying to look for fuel was very hectic because the queue was very long coupled with the fact that there was no fuel. But, it is even more surprising that we just came out of fuel scarcity not long ago when the government promised heaven and earth that it won’t happen again.

“But, see us in this quagmire again. The suffering has intensified. Cost of transportation has increased and definitely it would affect the cost of market commodities. It is not good for the image of Nigeria that we can not keep on a steady growth. We progress in a little measure today and retrogress in a very high measure tomorrow. Nigerians are dying of poverty and starvation.

“There is very poor power supply and now that the citizens decided to use fuel to go on with their business, the government has failed to regulate fuel distribution so that people can manage life. I think we should all say the truth that what is happening in Nigeria is not but bad leadership.”

Recounting her experience, Daniella Jethro, a Gwarinpa resident, bemoaned the hike in cost of transportation due to fuel scarcity.

She blamed the government for the scarcity of fuel, while noting that the situation has disrupted certain economic activities in the nation’s capital.

She, however, advised the government to find a lasting solution to the enigma bedeviling FCT.

She said: “It is really annoying and frustrating. We are just coming out of fuel scarcity, in fact it is barely a month since we experienced that kind of pain and we are entering another one. I feel like this one may be the worst because the last one started gradually but what we are facing now came like a shock to all of us. There are cars all over the place causing traffic around places where fuel stations are situated.

“The scarcity has affected a lot of people in diverse ways, personally it has really dealt with me because, previously, I get fuel for two thousand naira and use it for like two days from 7pm to 11pm but now with the way things are, fuel has become a really scarce commodity. I want to believe that power suppliers and patrol distributors are working hand in hand because when there is fuel scarcity there is always no light.

“So, how do we refrigerate the things that are in our freezer because when there is no light even the ones that are frozen will defrost and they will begin to spoil. Because of that, we mostly use the generator to power the freezer. All these things are the fault of the government.

“Now, these guys are refusing to sell to people with Jerry cans because they believe you are hoarding fuel but then those who sell black markets are given fuel more than to the people that brought their car or people that even need it for business or domestic purposes generally.

“The fuel scarcity has indirectly affected the prices of clothes, food, transportation and even things that are not related directly to patrol and the annoying thing is that this practice will never come back to the original prices as the prices are increasing they will continue increasing.

“I want to believe that the aim of the government is to frustrate everybody. I don’t know why they would want that but I strongly believe that is what they want. Before now, taking a bike to the junction was 50naira, because it is not really far but now it is 100naira and because of this fuel scarcity it is becoming very frustrating.”

She expressed fears over the ripple effect of the queues in the next few days.

“By tomorrow the situation might be worse than what is already on the ground,” he said.

“I heard a few days ago that the airline wants to go on strike on Monday, then the next thing we saw was the long queues in filling stations. “This is a country where the government says one thing and you see a different thing on the street.”

On his part, a driver, Hassan Jamiu, who spoke to Vanguard correspondent when he queues with another driver at Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, filling station, in Karu, stated that the situation is not only disturbing to passengers but it affects their earnings as well as risking their vehicles to bad patrol when they get supplies from black markets.

He said that he had tried several fuel stations along Karu-Jikwoyi route but could not find any supplying patrol.

“The fuel scarcity is really frustrating me. It is not about the fuel scarcity but how we risk our vehicles to bad fuels when we go to black marketers to buy. It is not our intention to go there, but a man must provide for his family.

“We don’t make much during a time like this because when fuel scarcity comes, it affects other things. At the end of the day you’d discover that you have nearly used all the money you’ve made to purchase patrol because it is on a higher cost now.

“We are also risking our vehicles with bad fuel. It could spoil a lot of things in a vehicle and the driver would be left stranded again.

“Some passengers do not really understand this. They think we are just unnecessarily wicked or inconsiderate but the reverse is the case because we spend on fuel the most and if we do it the way they want, we will end up going to our family empty handed.”

A taxi driver, Usman Sambo, lamented that the queues resurfaced Friday, stating that it may have been caused by the scarcity of aviation fuel.

“This queue started on Friday. That was when I noticed it but it was worse yesterday evening. Now, I don’t even know the reason but the way things are now, I must say it is because of the scarcity of aviation fuel,” he said.

“I was at Shafa fuel station in Lugbe and they were selling the product, all of a sudden the attendant said the fuel was finished. I think fuel stations have started hoarding,” he said

A hairstylist in Karu, Gloria Odeh, pointed that since their is epileptic power supply, the fuel scarcity situation has stopped her from attending to customers due to lack to petrol to power the generator.

Odeh said: “I can no long work. I just come to the shop and sit down from morning till night because there is not fuel to put on my generator because government has not been doing us good with electricity supply.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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