Fuel Scarcity— Motorists queuing for fuel in Abuja, yesterday
Nigerians have been urged to resist the urge to engage in panic buying of petroleum products due to the current fuel scarcity of products in some of the distribution outlets across the country which was occasioned by the recent rally by youths across the country to demand an end to police brutality.
Critical stakeholders in the petroleum sector who spoke with Vanguard in Abuja, however, advised car-owners to resist the idea of panic buying because of the sudden appearance of long queues at some of the fuel stations that are dispensing the Premium Motor Spirit.
Chairman Board of Directors, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Abdulkadir Aminu, in his response has predicted that the scarcity would not last for more than another five days.
According to him, “I am not surprised to see the queues on Monday in Abuja and some other states where it was reported because of obvious reasons.
“As we can recall, the events of the recent times had disrupted a lot of things in the country, and one of the immediate natural outcomes of the recent rallies across the country is the scarcity of products at distribution outlets across the country.
“It is not due to unavailability of the products or artificial scarcity by marketers of the products because there is no valid reason to do anything like that by patriotic businessmen and women who are doing their bit to contribute to nation-building,” Alhaji Aminu said.
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When asked why it had dragged to its third day, Alhaji Aminu, who also doubles as the Executive Director, NIPCO PLC, said though it was expected, it is a development that will soon fade away just as it had sneaked in on Nigerians.
In his words, “We saw the number of days the agitations lasted in different parts of the country and how many days the entire mayhem took before normalcy returned to the country.
“We are working with the events across the country and as a critical stakeholder in the sector, I can assure you that between three to five days, all things being equal, products would be available in distribution outlets in all of the places where people used to buy products.
“As marketers are loading from the coastal loading points, the NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) is also loading; marketers from Suleja to supplement the coastal loading and bridging.
“Therefore, we have enough products in all our retail outlets and the people in charge of the distribution are working round the clock to make products available for everyone that needs them everywhere across the country.
“We can also see that most of those on the long queues at the fuel stations are going with containers to buy products and store them for use, I want to beg such people to resist the urge to buy products because they are afraid of fuel scarcity for a long period.
“They should remember all the dangers of unwholesome storing of products and resist the urge to buy because of panic as things will soon return to as they used to be before the nationwide unrests” he stressed.
When contacted, the Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Yakubu Suleiman, also corroborated the Chairman Board of Trustees. According to him, “there is no scarcity of products.
“In fact, this is one of the periods that we have enough products in tank farms and sooner than later, the long queues will fade away the way they appeared suddenly in many parts of the country.
“Already, some marketers have been advised to sell a ration that is not more than thirty litres to every car that gets to the station to buy fuel.
“If you observed, the scarcity was not only petrol, marketers did not take delivery of even kerosene and diesel for many days now. So, as they run out of stocks, they close their gates to customers.
“It is also true that many of the marketers have closed their businesses to prevent the wave of looting of public and private establishments by some angry youths across the country.
“I want to seize this opportunity to appeal to youths across the country to desist from the looting of businesses, especially petroleum distribution outlets because many of these outlets have some tenants who run supermarkets within the premises of their distribution outlets,” Suleiman said.
Long queues resurfaced in Abuja the nation’s capital ‘as well as some states in the northern part of the country on Monday and the length of the queues increased on Tuesday evening as many outlets visited by Vanguard around the Federal Capital Territory did not have products to dispense to motorists.
On Wednesday when Vanguard went around the city, many of the outlets that had long queues already locked their gates to motorists because they had already run out of stock.
As on Wednesday morning, commuters who used public transportation were already feeling the effect of the scarcity because there was a visible reduction in the number of taxis to transport passengers from bus stops.
Therefore, passengers spent more time at bus stops and had to pay a bit more for the available space which was without any regard for the COVID-19 protocol as many passengers were seen without face masks while the loading pattern was done without social distancing.