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Fuel queues lengthen in Rivers, Bauchi, Jigawa, others

Published by Guardian on Thu, 06 Sep 2012

VEHICULAR queues for petrol in many states across in the country continue to lengthen in most filling stations amidst reported scarcity of the commodity.A survey by the News Agency of Nigeria across the states shows that the scarcity has caused severe inconveniences to not only motorists, but commuters and consumers of the product.Affected motorists and commuters attribute the situation to various factors, including alleged greed on the part of motorists and a break in the fuel supply chain.But in states such as Lagos, Kwara and some towns, there were no reports of scarcity as motorists bought fuel with ease.In Port Harcourt, car owners and other motorists expressed dismay at the fuel scarcity in the city.Residents of the city had witnessed fuel queues in some areas since August 31.A resident, Mr Chidi Amadi, said that he suddenly saw cars queuing to buy fuel last Friday.'I thought it was a joke. To my amazement, the queues are still there till today. The surprising thing is that nobody knows the reason for this scarcity.''Mr James Udoh, a commercial bus driver, who plies Mile 3 to Lagos bus stop in Port Harcourt, said he and other drivers have been buying fuel from the black market since August 31.'Honestly sir, as we speak, nobody knows the cause of this scarcity. If you have the patience, you can queue and buy from petrol stations selling fuel.''Udoh urged the independent petroleum marketers to look into the cause of the scarcity before it becomes very serious.For Mrs. Kate Edeh, a housewife and teacher, the situation rattled her last weekend as she suddenly saw fuel queues in her neighborhood in Rumumasi,Port Harcourt.'The major marketers like Oando, NNPC sub-stations and Agip stations had long queues and I started wondering what was happening.'I have asked questions on the cause of this sudden queues but nobody seems to have an answer.''But, Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, Port Harcourt refinery branch, Sonny Ikpe, told newsmen in Port Harcourt on Tuesday there was no problem.He assured that members would lift enough products that would satisfy the needs of motorists effective today (September 4).Motorists however, complained that some stations were selling at N120 per litre while the major marketers with long queues, sold at N97 per litre.Residents also said the stations had enough Kerosene and diesel while fuel remained scarce.Long queues of vehicles have also resurfaced in most petrol stations in Bauchi metropolis and its environs.Investigations revealed that the queues were noticed earlier last week when most of the stations were either without fuel while a few that had the commodity sold at higher prices.Most of the stations sold the commodity at between N110 per litre and N120 per litre in spite of the long queues.All the stations on Murtala Mohammed Way, Bauchi, had no fuel while the only station owned by an Independent Marketer discharged the commodity at N120 per litre.The NNPC Mega Stations within the metropolis, which could have doused the scarcity lacked supply while the commodity sold for between N700 and N800 per litre at the black market.Long queues on Tuesday resurfaced at petrol stations in Dutse, Jigawa, due to fuel scarcity.A NAN survey in Dutse indicated that only NNPC retail station and Oando filling stations were dispensing the commodity. A litre of petrol was sold at N97 at the stations.Ahmad Salihu, a motorist, said he had spent about 40 minutes on a queue at the Oando service station.He said he could not comprehend the reason why most of the filling stations in town were locked up, which compounded the situation.Nuru Kaugama, a cab driver, also expressed surprise on the long queues at the filling stations in Dutse.Kaugama commended the management of the NNPC retail station over adequate supply of fuel in the area.'The line has been moving fast because of many pumps dispensing the fuel at the mega stations.Some of the fuel service stations had, however, attributed the scarcity to the delay in upsetting oil subsidy by the Federal Government.All the filling stations belong to major marketers, including two NNPC mega stations. They are all selling at the normal pump price.Some queues at fuel stations on Monday night in Okitipupa, Ondo State, first gave the indication of the beginning of fuel scarcityThe scarcity fully hit the environs of Okitipupa Local Government Area on Tuesday.As at Tuesday morning, only two fuel stations were open and selling fuel in spite of queues at the stations.Speaking to NAN, a commercial bus driver, Seun Akintuyi said the fuel prices wouldn't go up but the commodity was scarce at the depots.'The prices have not really gone up but I just believe the depots have run out of fuel or the fuel stations are purposely hoarding the fuel.' .Also speaking a fuel attendant at one of the closed fuel stations, said they were open yesterday night until their fuel supply finished around 10 p.m.'We haven't sold fuel this morning, but we were told to resume in the afternoon, so there is hope that fuel should be available then.'I think the product is just scarce at the depots because until we closed yesterday night, we were selling at the normal rate of N97 per liter; it is not as if the price wants to go up.'However, an Okada man who spoke with NAN on condition of anonymity claimed the scarcity was the beginning of a systematic fuel price hike.This is what happens when fuel prices want to go up, the fuel stations introduce artificial scarcity and then gradually increase the price.'As at the time of this report, only two of the 10 fuel stations in Okitipupa were selling at N100 per liter amidst queues.Also in Onitsha, Anambra, motorists and entrepreneurs have continued to buy petrol and diesel with ease.This is particularly noticeable in filling stations belonging to independent marketers and NNPC joint venture fuel stations within Onitsha and its environ.A NAN correspondent, who went round fuel stations in Onitsha on Tuesday, observed that there was slight increase in price of fuel products for over three months now.Petrol was sold for N105 per litre, while diesel went for between N150 and N160 per litre in almost all the fuel stations visited.However, kerosene (DPK), which is a household cooking fuel, had remained relatively scarce in most of the fuel stations.The household fuel price had sky-rocketed to between N120 and N130 per litre in stations owned by independent marketers, where the stock was available.The black market price for kerosene ranged from between N150 and N155 per litre at Onitsha.Reacting, Pastor Agara Jarvis, Manager of Dwell Oil Fuelling Station along Oguta Road, Onitsha noted that the station had not experienced any sort of panic buying between yesterday and today.
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