Passengers were weekend stranded in some parts of Lagos as long queues of motorists resurfaced in filling stations in Lagos following the inability of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ensure sustained supply of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol.
Although the scarcity eased at the early part of last week in Lagos, it was learnt that that happened because there was supply in Lagos and Abuja, but other parts of the country were left out.
It was learnt that contrary to the promises made by the private Oil Marketing and Trading (OM &T) companies to ship cargoes into the country last week, the marketers still depended largely on cargoes imported by the Pipelines Products and Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the NNPC.
The Executive Secretary of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Mr. Thomas Olawore, had assured listeners that the major marketers would import four cargoes last week. But according to Thisday sources, apart from MT Centurion, carrying 23,000metric tonnes of PMS, translating to about 600 trucks, which were imported by NIPCO Plc, no other marketer shipped any cargo into Lagos last week.
The NNPC, through the PPMC, however brought in another vessel, MT Kariton, which finished discharging its products on Friday. With the inadequate stock of PMS in Lagos, most of the depots ration products to trucks that lift to filling stations.
The NNPC has consistently promised that there is adequate supply, but the Zonal Chairman of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) workers, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, whose association comprises mostly of Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), told THISDAY that the products available were not enough to go round the country.
“The Minister of Petroleum came to Lagos and told you people that they have enough fuel but I told you that they don’t have enough. The secret is that they concentrated loading to Lagos and Abuja because these two places attract more attention and sympathy. That was why queues reduced in Lagos and Abuja but other states were suffering.
“What happened was that 60 per cent of the trucks loading in Lagos were sent to Lagos and Abuja to discharge and it reduced queues in Lagos and Abuja. Ejigbo depot, for instance, is loading to only Lagos and Abuja. It is not that there was improvement in supply because the marketers given allocation are yet to bring cargoes,” he said.