Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013

Petrol Scarcity Hits Lagos Operators Hoards Products in Anticipation of Price Hike

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December 27, 2012

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Scarcity of petrol has hit the inhabitants of Lagos and Abuja despite the assurances by the Federal Government that there would be sufficient supply of the product during the Yuletide.

The Federal Government sought and obtained appropriation for close to a billion dollar in additional spending on fuel subsidy with the expressed intention of forestalling any shortage of petrol during the festive period.

However, the government did not live to its words as the product literarily disappeared from the stations in the two days of festivity.

Most petrol filling stations in Lagos were not dispensing products and the few that were selling had long queues of anxious motorists who were condemned by the development to spend many hours on Christmas and Boxing Day at petrol stations.

The CITIZEN checks around the Lagos metropolis showed that most stations belonging to the independent markers, especially small operators, were closed.

While all of them claimed non-availability of product, it was learnt that they have fuel products in the underbelly of their stations waiting for any possible price hike.

A filling station attendant, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition that he be not named, said that he was aware that the situation had stock of fuel but was not selling because of the anticipated price hike,.

The managers of the station we learnt believed that the Federal Government was about to hike the price despite assurances by the Federal including President Goodluck Jonathan that there would be no such hike in 2013. Government

But according to our findings, they believe it is folly to take officials of government by their words, when they had hiked the prices of the product early in January this year despite similar assurances given earlier.

Just like Lagos, many filling stations in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja had no fuel.

The result: long queues in the few that were dispensing the product. Anxious motorists were seen at the Forte Filling Station and NNPC Mega-station in the Central Area of the Federal Capital.

A Civil Servant, Mr. Samuel Ogah, lamented that it was becoming increasingly difficult to get fuel on working days when there was long queues at filling stations.

A lawyer, Mr. Andrew Omoh, expressed his disappointment with the worsening fuel crisis.

In Lagos, many residents lamented the fuel scarcity which they said, had hampered movement of people celebrating during the yuletide.

Some of the residents want urgent government action to ensure adequate supply of petroleum products.

The residents expressed displeasure over the sudden scarcity of fuel which they said, became noticeable on Christmas Eve.

A motorist, John Ibik, told our correspondent that he has been fooled again by believing the words of government officials.

“With assures that there won’t scarcity in this festive period I had not bordered to go way of most Nigerians: store up petrol for the festive period, but I soon discovered. There is scarcity and I have spent more than three hours in the queue,” he said in answer to our correspondent’s questions.

Another motorist James Peter, who claimed to be a lawyer, said angrily, “Jonathan had tried in stabilizing supply of petroleum products but it obvious he has lost grip. What is this nonsense of subsidy crossing N1 trillion. It is a façade feeding the corruption of government officials; I am disappointed in them all.”

However a port by the News Agency of Nigeria citing a source at the NNPC indicated that scarcity was caused by the pipeline explosion that occurred at Ijeododo in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos last week.

The official who pleaded anonymity said that system `2B’, which convey petroleum product to South-West states from the Atlas Cove, was destroyed.

According to the agency report filling stations at Ikorodu, Bariga, Lagos-Badagry Expressway, among others, sold petrol at prices ranging between N100 and N120 per litre, instead of the regulated price of N97 per litre.

At Mallo filling station in Ikorodu, Mr. Andrew Badru, a banker, said that there was no justification for the current fuel scarcity, as the government had assured the citizens of abundant fuel supply during the Yuletide period.

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