Dwellers, motorists lament as fuel scarcity bites hard in Nigerian cities
NEWS DIGEST – With fuel scarcity re-emerging as a problem in Nigeria, long queues at fuel stations have become a theme in Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo and have nudged some stations to dispense fuel to customers at prices higher than the pump price.
News Digest visited some fuel stations in Eleyele, a hotspot in the city, to track the activities at petrol stations and determine their response to the scarcity.
Our correspondent reports the dissatisfaction of residents and motorists and the total lockdown of several fuel stations across the district.
Mania, Oando and Shukurah filling stations
Mania, Oando and Shukurah filling stations are three of several petrol stations that suspended operations since the fuel scarcity heightened in Eleyele, Ibadan. News Digest understands that these stations do have fuel in their reserves but have opted against selling to users.
Prizeton filling station
At Prizeton, in the Ologuneru area of Eleyele, fuel is selectively dispensed to vehicles. Although the petrol station had stopped selling to the public, its operatives were seen selling fuel to some cars.
The security officer on duty, when pressed for answers, told our correspondent that the Manager would need to give him a go-ahead before he allows anyone accesses to the station, negating the narrative that the station didn’t have fuel to sell.
Bovas filling station
At Bovas filling station, at Benjamin along Eleyele road, Ibadan, there was a huge number of customers and a queue long enough to cause traffic, keeping incoming and outgoing vehicles at a standstill.
Residents share their struggles
“I have been at the filling station for over 3 hours but I have not been attended to,” said a taxi driver, who identified himself as Baba Ijebu. “Even if I buy the fuel now, I don’t think I would be able to work because I make good sales mostly in the morning.”
“I have children and a wife at home who are waiting for me to bring something back from home but I don’t know what to tell them,” he added.
Because motorists are paying a premium to get fuel, their customers are now treated to higher charges to compensate for the fuel increase.
“I had to trek halfway before I could get a taxi, I was almost late for work because I couldn’t get a fast means,” said Mr John Adeleke. “Everyone is trying to get fuel to their car to face the business of the day.”
Private depots and new freight rates driving fuel scarcity
On Wednesday, it became known that the recent fuel scarcity was due to a supply problem, and not a lack of fuel stock.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria said the country currently has about 2 billion litres worth of PMS, which is enough to serve Nigeria’s 40 million litres daily PMS needs.
According to its president, Mr Festus Osifo, the extra premium imposed by private depots meant oil marketers could only buy PMS between N155 and N162, compared to N148 per litre at NNPC depots.
“So, if they sell at that amount, it will now be difficult for the retailer to go and sell at the same amount,” he said.
In the past week, oil marketers reported that the price rose to N170 – N173 per litre in Lagos. There are indications that this increase was partly driven by truck drivers, who demanded their freight rate reflect the increase in the price of diesel.
“As at when they agreed, the cost of diesel was about N250 so it was fashionable and the N10 was a bit, okay but today, the cost of diesel is over N700,” Mr Korie said. “It has tripled. So, the expectation from the tanker drivers is that since the cost has gone up, instead of paying me N10.40kobo as the case may be, you have to multiply it by three.”