The ‘Fuel War Room’ activated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to end petrol scarcity within two days is not yielding many results as many filling stations were locked yesterday in many cities across the country.
EnergyNews correspondents witnessed long queues at petrol stations in few stations that opened for business in Abuja, Nasarawa, and Kaduna, Kano, Jos, and Lagos state, as motorists say they paid certain charges to beat the queues and fill their tanks.
A survey of the Abuja city showed that 26 fuel stations from the neighboring Mararaba town of Nasarawa state through Nyanya to the city center and Jabi District in Abuja city were not selling petrol. Only eight stations were seen dispensing the product along the route with massive queues.
On the Zuba-Kubwa express road, more than half of the stations were locked. In Kaduna metropolis, our correspondent observed long queues at the filling stations with some off-loading the product while others were not selling.
Commercial transporters in the metropolis have also increased fares by 200 percent, it was learned. Yakubu Ibrahim, who resides at Angwan Dosa, said he was forced to buy at N400 per liter from a black marketer after futile efforts at filling stations around Sabon Tasha area.
“I have to buy four liters at the cost of N1,600 without bargain to power my generating set since PHCN has decided to compliment fuel scarcity and put us in broad day darkness,” he said.
Another resident of Gwamna Road, Kaduna South Local Government Area, Bulus Auta said, “The only thing I did for Christmas was to go to church this morning and immediately after that, I moved to the mega filling station along the bye pass where my car has been parked for two days to get petrol.
“I am a taxi driver and that is my only means of livelihood, if I don’t get fuel at controlled price, it will affect my business, I cannot even afford to buy the fuel at N400 per litre and that is why I have parked my car hoping to get the product at the approved price,” Auta noted.
Meanwhile, people from another part of the state said they bought fuel between N250 and N300 despite monitoring by Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and sealing of six stations recently.
At the Asokoro MRS station in Abuja, some motorists abandoned the lengthy queue to form another which they called ‘Fast Line’ at the exit gate where they paid between N500 and N1,000 to the gate handlers to enter within 20 to 30 minutes.
Mr. Segun Ogunleye, a taxi driver said the practice resulted in a scuffle between the station’s operators and angry motorists, who had patiently queued at the entrance gate only to see others enter through the exit gate and buy the product easily.
“They even stopped selling after the fight but an army officer who was patiently waiting in the lengthy queue resolved the conflict. Despite that experience, it has continued today (Monday),” he said.
It was also observed that although the fuel station sells for N145 per liter, filling a vehicle tank beyond N5,000 attracts extra N500 or more as demanded by the attendants.
One of the attendants said it was a directive not to sell beyond N5,000 which was a little over 30 liters but that if anyone ‘cooperates’, the vehicle could be filled up.