IPMAN, Petrol and diesel queues have resurfaced in Lagos and other cities across the country, as motorists thronged filling stations to fill up their tanks.
The development comes just a few days after similar scarcity was witnessed in Ibadan, Oyo State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. It has created apprehension as motorists engage in panic buying reminiscent of the February 2022 scarcity which lasted several weeks due to alleged importation of toxic petroleum products.
The Trumpet sighted queues in most filling stations visited on Monday and Tuesday, although some fuel attendants blamed the scenes on panic-buying by motorists.
Most filling stations on Ikorodu Road and Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, A p a p a – O s h o d i Expressway, Airport Road, and other parts of the the former federal capital’s metropolis showed that most of the filling stations were not selling fuel. The few ones selling were dispensing fuel from one or two pumps in spite of the fact that they have many sales points, thereby leading to long time motorists spend before they are attended to.
Also at a media briefing on Monday, June 20, 2022, at Ejigbo in Lagos, IPMAN Chairman and executives, in conjunction with some senior members of the unit, ordered independent marketers to sell petrol at N180 per litre. It insisted that the association had earlier explained its predicament with the current price of petrol in private depots. “We explained that with the current price, there is no way we can sell less than N180 per litre.
On this note, members are hereby advised to sell at a sustainable price in their localities. Just make sure that the price is on your pump. Kindly contact the secretariat should you have any authority challenging your operations,” they said during the briefing.
Consequently, long queues have emerged at filling stations in Abuja, Lagos and other cities across the country since Sunday, June 19, 2022. Last week, the South West zonal Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Dele Tajudeen, threatened to direct its members to increase the pump prices of petrol and diesel. Tajudeen alleged that his members had been unable to buy the product from any of the government owned deports for the past six months.
This forced them to buy from private depots owners, who have continued to take advantage of the situation. He predicted that the scarcity might linger, as available statistics showed that the country was experiencing extreme low crude oil production for export. Nigeria’s oil output dropped to 1.02 million barrels per day In May 2022, from 1.8 million, the lowest figure ever recorded.
The large number of commuters gathered at various places and the major motor parks in Lagos and Ogun states on Monday and Tuesday, is a clear indication that the country is back to the dark days of fuel scarcity. Almost all commercial activities in the South West are gradually grinding to a halt.
For instance, a trip that usually costs commuters between N100 and N150 from Mile 2 to Ojota, is now between N400 and N500. A commercial bus ride from Ipodo Bus-Stop Ikeja to Obalende, Tafawa Balea Square and CMS that usually costs N1,000 is now N2,000 per passenger. The fare from Oshodi to Sango in Ogun State usually costs between N400 and N500 but is now N1,000. Also, a bus ride from Sango under the bridge to Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital that usually costs between N3,000 and N4,000 is now N8,000.
Checks by The Trumpet in Lagos and Abeokuta showed that major filling stations were either closed for lack of fuel or those that have had long queues.
Thousands, especially civil servants and other office workers were stranded in various places and bus stops in both states. Most workers who want to get to their offices at all costs were sighted walking long distance and depressed. if this ugly situation continues, IPMAN will be left with no other option, than to ask it members to increase the pump prices of fuel and diesel, saying: “Because some of our members who manage to get the products go through a lot of pains in the hands of the people selling the products in the black market.”
When The Trumpet visited the NNPC Mega Station in Oke Mosan area of Abeokuta, a reliable source revealed that for about four days, the station had not dispensed fuel. Another NNPC station at Oke-Aro on Akute Road, in Ifo Council of Ogun State was dispensing fuel, but at exhorbitant price to buyers.
The mobile filling station at Hacckuli area along Oke-Aro Toyin Junction in Ogun State also sold fuel throughout Monday at higher price. However, in Port Harcourt, the fuel situation in places monitored around the state capital and environs was still stable as of the time of filing this report. Filling stations visited around Eleme area where the Port Harcourt refinery is located were selling fuel at the approved price of N165 per litre.
This is despite the fact that the refinery is currently undergoing repairs and had not started refining petroleum products. But Peworth Filling Station in New Town area slightly adjusted the pump price to N170 per litre, a situation that might have emanated from rumours from other parts of the country.
A pump attendant at the filling station told The Trumpet that the rise in the price followed increase in the cost of the last delivery they got. At o ther places monitored like Azuabie along Peter Odili Road, Trans-Amadi in Port Harcourt, the story is the same. Feelers from Bori in Ogoni, Oyigbo and environs, were that the price was hovering between N165 and N170 per litre as at Tuesday, but there were no queues. A citizen, speaking to The Trumpet, accused the Federal Government of unleashing hardship on Nigerians.
He said a rumour of planned increase in the price of petroleum products was an alibi by government to again raise the price in the long-run to worsen the economic condition and suffering most Nigerians were already going through.
He enjoined Nigerians to ‘shine’ their eyes in the 2023 general elections and vote a candidate who would feel the pains that ordinary citizens are going through in the midst of plenty.
But to douse the tensions, Nigerian Ports Authority has disclosed that no fewer than 24 ships laden with petroleum products and assorted food items were being expected in Lagos from June 20, 2022 to July 28, 2022. It revealed that the ships also contain bulk sugar, container, bulk gypsum, bulk wheat, general cargo, base oil, bulk salt, bulk fertilizer, petrol and frozen fish. It added that about 20 ships were already discharging bulk wheat, general cargo, containers, fuel, base oil, frozen fish and urea.
The NPA added that four additional ships had also arrived the ports and were waiting to berth with containers, bulk wheat and petroleum products.
However, the Federal Government says the fixed pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, remains N165 per litre as stipulated in the petroleum product pricing template.
The government also advised Nigerians against panic buying PMS, also known as petrol, saying that the country currently had over 2 billion litres of PMS in various depots.
This was made known by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd., and the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company after visiting jetties in Apapa, Lagos.
Those visited by the top officials of the agencies were NIPCO Depot and TotalEnergies Depot. IPMAN, had on Monday advised its members to adjust the pump price of PMS to a minimum of N180 per litre. The marketers had said the move was necessitated by the increment in the ex-depot price of PMS by some private depots where they were buying the product from.
However, Ugbugo Ukoha, Executive Director, Distribution Systems, Storage and Retail Infrastructure, NMDPRA, maintained that petrol was a regulated product and urged marketers to comply with the pricing template. Ukoha said the conflict between Russia and Ukraine had led to an increment in the cost of Automotive Gas Oil (diesel), which was a critical product used in transporting petroleum products from the depots to the retail outlets.
He said: “So, when we observed that this poses a big challenge in the movement of other products, we made the representation to the Minister of State for Petroleum and Mr President graciously approved that the freight rate for trucks be increased.
Read Also: Reconstituting NDDC Board: Matters arising
“There’s a N10 addition, which we will apply to the different routes to enable trucks to move to docks easily with less burden. “With these kinds of efforts from government, we can only continue to appeal to operators within this industry to play by the rules.
“PMS is a regulated product and the prices are fixed. The ex-depot price is known. The pump price remains N165 and the authority is ever ready to enforce those rules.
“So, we will continue to urge Nigerians to keep within these operating rules.” Ukoha further said the focus of the stakeholders in the next few days would be to close the supply gaps and resolve the ongoing scarcity of petrol as soon as possible. Also, Adetunji Adeyemi, Group Executive Director, Downstream, NNPC Ltd., said the purpose of the visit to the depots was to get first-hand information on the challenges responsible for the current scarcity.
Adeyemi said despite the challenges globally in terms of the supply chain, NNPC had continued to provide petroleum products, specifically PMS to Nigerians. “Today we have about 2 billion litres of PMS incountry, which is about 34 days sufficiency.
So, there is sufficient petrol in the country. “We are working with the entire stakeholders and players in the downstream sector to ensure that this product gets to the distribution channels and also the stations. “We want Nigerians to continue to enjoy free flow of petroleum products,” he said.
Isiyaku Abdullahi, Managing Director, PPMC, said the company had been supporting transporters and marketers with diesel in form of palliative to ensure the smooth distribution of PMS and ameliorate the suffering of Nigerians. Abdullahi said three vessels carrying about 60 metric tons of PMS were currently discharging at the Apapa jetty, which would be further transported to Lagos and other parts of the country to restore normalcy.
On their parts, Suresh Kumar, Managing Director, NIPCO and Ernest Umunna, Site Manager, TotalEnergies, assured Nigerians of product availability at their depots.
They also promised to carry out 24-hour trucking operations to ensure that the scarcity situation in Lagos was resolved within the next few days. As fuel scarcity bites harder across other parts of the federation, there is no queue or scarcity in the entire filling stations in the South-East States.
The Trumpet investigation across Imo, Abia, Enugu, Anambra, and Ebonyi States, revealed that price of petrol remained the same. A visit to some of the filling stations in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital, revealed that fuel sells between ₦160 and ₦170 per litre.
An attendant at an Oando Filling Station, who spoke with The Trumpet, disclosed that there was no fuel scarcity. Some of Transporters who spoke to The Trumpet also revealed that the price of transportation remained the same.