The fuel situation in the country appears to have defied all solutions, as the scarcity worsened yesterday, heightening the sufferings of motorists and the public in general.
Vanguard reported that despite promises made by oil marketers, Monday, that the country will be flooded with petrol in the coming days, the situation had continued to deteriorate on a daily basis with people finding it increasingly difficult to buy the commodity.
The authorities saddled with the responsibility of regulating the downstream petroleum sector, Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, have failed to take any significant steps towards addressing the crisis, as senior officials of the organizations have refused to respond to queries about the issue.
A source at NNPC told Vanguard that majority of the senior executives of NNPC and officials of DPR and PPPRA have all travelled to attend the Offshore Technology Conference, OTC, currently holding in Houston, Texas.
A survey of petrol stations in Lagos and Abuja showed that majority of the petrol stations were shut, while only a few were selling to motorists at exorbitant prices.
Petrol stations in Ajegunle, Festac, Kirikiri, Orile, Victoria Island recorded long queues of motorists, while some stations were shut as their attendants claimed to have run out of stock.
The situation led to serious traffic logjam along some of the major roads in Lagos metropolis as Oando filling station in Lawanson Bus Stop Surulere; Forte filling station, Fadeyi, Ikorodu Road; NNPC filling station, Abule; Total filling station, Maryland, Agege and Alaba, all recorded long queues of motorists.
Vanguard learned that despite the availability of this product and assurances, some filling stations along Badagry Road, specifically from Agbara to Badagry, dispense at N100 and N120 against the regulated price of N87.
One of the motorists at Total filling station in Maryland, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, argued that the situation had not changed.
He said: “Despite the terrible experience over the weekend, which saw petrol being sold at filling stations across the state at N140 to N150 per litre, we still have to queue for hours to buy petrol at some of the stations that sell this product.”
At the Conoil petrol station at Kado Estate, the attendants were selling the product at N110 per litre after refusing to sell for several hours.
Motorists were further subjected to insults from the attendants who were more concerned with selling to individuals with jerry cans. Such people were made to pay extra N200 by the attendants before they were attended to.
All the petrol stations along the Kubwa Expressway had ran out of products to sell, while only Conoil petrol station and NNPC mega stations were dispensing to a large crowd of motorists.
One of the motorists told Vanguard that he had joined the queue at a petrol station in Wuse by 6am, hoping that before noon he would get to his turn to purchase.
He said on getting to the point of entry into the petrol station around 3:30p.m., officials of the station came to lock the gate, saying they had ran out of product.
The motorist, a taxi driver, who refused to give his name, said while he was there, the petrol station temporarily stopped selling at about 10a.m. and resumed selling after about half an hour.
Another motorist, Mr. Festus Ekong, said the perennial scarcity is a failure of the government and is a reflection of the ineptitude of the authorities to curtail the excesses of the marketers.
Situation at the Conoil and Total petrol stations opposite NNPC headquarters was chaotic, with the queues stretching across three streets.
Black marketers continue to have a field day, as they are seen at almost every strategic point at the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, selling the product between N200 and N250 per litre.
Black marketers speak
The black marketers have become the major source of respite to motorists. Some of the black marketers told Vanguard that they sell at exorbitant prices because they had to go to remote locations to get the product and also had to bribe security agents, who are constantly harassing them.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Mr. Obafemi Olawore, Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN, had on Monday told Nigerians that they had resolved their differences over the subsidy issue, saying the marketers had already agreed to resume the supply of fuel across the country to end the sufferings of Nigerians.