Queues at fuel stations have persisted across retail outlets in Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna and other states following the detection and withdrawal of adulterated petrol from circulation last week.
A survey by Daily Trust on Monday showed that the queues were worsening over that of last week when the news of the adulterated fuel spread across the nation.
It was learnt that about 100 million litres of adulterated Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) was observed to have been and supplied to Nigeria.
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) in a statement confirmed that the shipment from Belgium contained a higher level of methanol than the Nigerian specification for petrol.
It also noted that it was working with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPC) to withdraw the bad product and supply quality products without delay.
NNPC later admitted that its inspectors tested and certified all the imported cargoes of petrol but that the test was not for methanol which was said to be higher in the product.
The Chief Executive Officer/Group Managing Director of NNPC Ltd, Mallam Mele Kyari, on Thursday named the firms NNPC engaged to import the product from 20th January 2022.
He said NNPC investigation revealed the presence of methanol in four PMS cargoes imported by the Direct-Sale-Direct-Purchase (DSDP) suppliers which are MRS, Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium, Oando and Duke Oil (NNPC subsidiary) all from LITASCO Terminal in Antwerp-Belgium.
Kyari said to prevent the distribution of the petrol, the company ordered the quarantine of all un-evacuated volumes and the holding back of all the affected products in transit (both truck and marine).
He also assured that NNPC has the capacity to restore sanity in the supply and distribution of petrol shortly.
Increasing queues in Lagos, Abuja, others
Fuel queues have persisted in filling stations in Lagos and its environs, checks by Daily Trust show. Though there are some stations dispensing the product in the outskirts of Lagos, there are long queues in filling stations in Lagos metropolis.
Areas such as Ikeja, Ojodu, Agidingbi, and several other places within the environs.
A motorist however told Daily Trust that the queues were minimal at filling stations along Oko Oba, parts of Agege and Lagos-Abeokuta expressway.
Another motorist who identified himself as Mr Kunle said the situation remained tight across the Lagos Mainland.
Also, there was chaos at an NNPC retail station along Ogunnusi road in Ojodu with the queue extending towards Lateef Jakande.
“There is queue everywhere as you can see. I have been here for the past three hours and we are still struggling to buy,” said another motorist at the filling station.
A survey in Abuja also revealed queues across the few retail stations that were operating. At the NIPCO station in Jabi, motorists were frustrated on the two queues leading to the station, partially blocking the Obafemi Awolowo Way.
Musa Garko, a motorist, spoke about his ordeal at the station. “I joined the queue at 7am but I did not get to buy petrol until 10am,” indicating at least three hours on the queue.
Also, at the AA Rano mega station in Jabi, motorists were seen trying to gain access even as the operators limited access through only one gate.
Samuel Effiong was just driving out of the station when he spoke, and appealed to the regulatory authority to intervene.
The queues at AYM Shafa and AA Rano stations in Katampe along Kubwa expressway have persisted since last week and are blocking a part of the service lane.
A motorist, Amos, who was already frustrated, said he had to resort to the ‘black market’ and bought 10 litres at N2,500. “This is not getting well with drivers, I hope more fuel is brought in,” he noted.
In Kaduna, scores of stations in the state were not dispensing the product as of Monday. Our correspondent who visited the operational ones observed that only a few marketers – including two Mobil filling stations and Shafa Energy located on Ali Akilu Road and Muhammadu Buhari Way – were selling petrol servicing long queues.
Black marketers were seen hawking the product in jerry cans at inflated prices to desperate motorists.
Many filling stations along Kaduna-Zaria road, as well as others on Nnamdi Azikiwe bypass of the state sold to buyers at prices ranging from N180 to N185 per litre.
However, a commercial driver, Musa Adamu, called on the government to fast track the clearing of the adulterated fuel and bring an end to the scarcity.
“My only complaint is that the black marketers are given priority while many motorists who queue eventually do not get the product.”
Madam Franca Yohanna, a motorist who had about 20 cars ahead of her at the Mobil station on Muhammadu Buhari Way said, “Already we are struggling to feed, struggling to pay school fees and struggling to survive, they should not add to our burden.”
In Kogi, transporters have hiked transport fare, especially in Lokoja over petrol scarcity. Some commuters in Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State, including workers in private and public institutions, were seen trekking to their offices on Monday.
Except for skeletal services at a few petrol stations in Lokoja, most others closed their gates while the few motorists operating shuttle services in Lokoja metropolis and across the state were forced to source their fuel from the black market. They also had to increase transport fares.
Marketers battling shortfall after withdrawal of toxic fuel- IPMAN
When contacted for comments, the President of Independent Petroleum Marketers’ Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Alhaji Debo Ahmed, said the problems have persisted since the withdrawal of the contaminated product in circulation.
He stated that the marketers were not expecting the disruption being experienced across the country.
“We never expected this type of shortfall. We were expecting that after the bad products were withdrawn, things would be normal but because of the gap this created, it is what is causing this scarcity. But I am sure very soon, everything will be alright,” he said.
Also speaking, the National Vice President IPMAN, Abubakar Maigandi, said the petroleum marketers were already loading products since Thursday, noting that the queues will end soon.
Another petroleum marketer, Rasheed Olapade, said many depots in Lagos, Ibadan, Ilorin were not loading as of yesterday.
“Ilorin depot is not loading and it is supplying nothing less than seven states. See what is happening in Lagos and with our normal attitude of sharp practices, there is no way you can remove that one from the problem.
“But as I am talking to you, most of the NNPC depots are not loading.”
A petroleum marketer in Abuja, Yahaya Sule, said there are places within Abuja where queues are short but that such stations had sold the adulterated petrol last week and so, motorists are avoiding them.
“It will take time for those stations to regain the confidence of their customers.”
Petrol subsidy: PDP governors call for probe
Meanwhile, governors of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) rose from a meeting in Bayelsa State on Monday with a call on the federal government to institute an investigation into the fuel subsidy regime.
In a communiqué after the meeting, the governors also frowned at the contaminated fuel saga and urged the government to bring perpetrators to account.
By Simon E. Sunday, Baba Martins (Abuja) Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos) Maryam Ahmadu-Suka (Kaduna) & Tijani Labaran (Lokoja)