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Queues return as fuel supply shortage persists

Fuel queues

Long queues returned to filling stations in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt on Tuesday as motorists struggled to buy the limited quantity of Premium Motor Spirit available due to what industry watchers called supply shortage.

Motorists were seen waiting endlessly at the few filling stations that were selling the product in the three cities and their environs, while the gates of many other stations were shut against customers.

In Lagos, there were long queues at the Oando filling station located in Maryland, while petrol was dispensed from only one pump. The Mobil filling station located in the same area was locked against customers.

Similarly, there were long queues at the Conoil filling stations located at the General Hospital area of Ikeja and Oko Oba.

The scarcity, which started in Abuja on Monday, left hundreds of motorists stranded at filling stations for most part of Tuesday.

One  of our correspondents observed that almost all the filling stations that were selling fuel in the Central Area of the Federal Capital Territory were overwhelmed.

At the AP filling station opposite the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Maitama, it was observed that as of 11pm on Monday, hundreds of motorists were still in four separate queues that stretched long meters down the road.

At the Total filling station opposite the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation headquarters, many motorists had an endless wait to be served.

The situation worsened on Tuesday as motorists resorted to panic buying as a result of the warning of an imminent scarcity issued by the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria last week.

The Department of Petroleum Resources on Tuesday sealed off two filling stations in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, for offences related to the scarcity.

The DPR surveillance team, which embarked on an unexpected inspection of filling stations in the city, shut the Tonnino Investment Company Limited’s station located on Ada George Road for hoarding fuel and refusing to sell to customers.

Also affected was the Forte Oil station located along the Eastern Bypass, which was shut for selling petrol above the approved pump price of N97.

The re-emergence of the queues, experts said, was a sign of inadequate supply of PMS to the market.

Nigerians consume over 40 million litres of PMS every day but the delay in the release of the first quarter import allocation by the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency was said to have been responsible for the current scarcity.

The Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Obafemi Olawore, had last week warned that there would be fuel scarcity in the country if the major marketers’ supply was not replenished.

However, the Federal Government released the first quarter import allocation to the MOMAN on Sunday, with Olawore saying, “The first quarter allocation is out now. Motorists should calm down and stop panic buying. Now that the importation approval has been signed, Nigerians should expect prompt and effective distribution of petroleum products in all filling stations across the country.”

However, when contacted on Tuesday following the re-emergence of fuel queues in some states, the MOMAN scribe said, “Even with the allocations, it takes some time before marketers can bring in petroleum products. We got allocation on Sunday night and it will take some time before the cargoes start coming in.”

Olawore, however, told one of our correspondents that the NNPC had given major marketers some products and “we will start distributing that as from Wednesday (today).”

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