…Lagos, S/West 40 trucks
By Adewale Sanyaolu Bimbola Oyesola, Lagos and Tony Osauzo, Benin
EXPECTATIONS that the lingering fuel crisis in the country may turn out to be a mirage after all as only 6.5 million out of the anticipated 16 million litres was delivered over the weekend.
According to Daily Sun investigation, 80 per cent of the consignment (21,000 metric tonnes) which represents 5.28 million litres has been allocated to the north while Lagos, Ogun and some other South West states will share the remaining 20 percent or 1.32 million litres.
In practical terms 6.5 million litres translate to 200 tankers, with each tanker containing 33,000. With this calculation, the North gets 160 tankers while the South West will have 40 tankers.
Daily Sun, had exclusively reported the arrival of the vessel christened Sea Frontier which brought in the 6.5 million litres of petrol.
Loading activities at the Apapa and Ibafon depots as at yesterday was not encouraging as long queues of tankers dotted the stretch of Apapa Oshodi Expressway from Ijesha to Mile 2. At press time, scores of tankers were also waiting at other loading bay including that of the Cooperative Society of the Kaduna Petrochemical Refining Company (KPRC) to be loaded.
Investigations by Daily Sun revealed that a vessel arrived at Capital Oil yesterday while loading activities was ongoing at Folawiyo as at 4.20pm with Techno oil loading in trickles.
Meanwhile, commuters across the country have been telling tales of woes as they experience challenges moving to their respective offices and business locations.
However, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has attributed the perennial scarcity to the inconsistencies in the Federal Government’s policy.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, who spoke in Lagos, said contradictory utterances by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu on the present crisis have further aggravated the situation across the country.
Wabba said with the statement credited to the minister that fuel would not be available until May made the independent marketers to deliberately hoard the product, while others resorted to selling at skyrocketed prices.
The Minister is not consistent, at one time he said fuel will not be available until May, at another time he said April 7, so the marketers who are behind the present high prices know that they will not be sanctioned. They hoard products, despite the fact that they have fuel, so that they can sell at high prices,” he said.
The NLC president stressed the need for the government to be firm on the issue of petroleum, adding that it is high time the Federal Government addressed Nigerians on the present crisis.
“With the present crisis, we want the Presidency to tell Nigerians if the subsidy policy is still in place or not. The contradiction is what is causing the crisis,” he said.
Wabba who lamented that since the scarcity began, productivity has been at its lowest ebb called for a meeting of all stakeholders in the industry to resolve the perennial problem.
Wabba stated that Nigerian workers have been impoverished by the crisis as they have spend more on transportation.
“This is quite unfortunate, people voted for this government because we believe that they will fight corruption. But we wonder why it is still difficult to stop all these people causing problem in the oil sector, despite the fact that they have support from the people,” he said.
The fuel situation in Benin and environs remains critical as most filling do not have the product to sell. The few stations that have the product are selling between N230 and N250 per litre. The scarcity has forced long queues, especially at NNPC stations and those belonging to major marketers as motorists keep vigil in expectation of supply of fuel.
Expectedly, many commercial buses and taxies have been forced off the road, thereby resulting in transport difficulties even as passengers are forced to pay high fares.
While Abuja has recorded improvement, residents of the South-East are still groaning.
In Lagos, traffic snarl occasioned by the activities of filling stations impeded movement, forcing commuters to spend longer hours in traffic.
At Agege Pen Cinema, Abula Egba, Egba, Yaba, Igando, Ikeja, and Sango in Ogun State, commuters had a hectic time getting buses while the few available ones hiked their fares by over 100 percent in a bid to cushion the effect of high fuel cost.
A ride from Egbeda in the early hours of yesterday, which normally costs N150 attracted to N500 while Oshodi to Mile 2, which ordinarily costs N100 was hiked to N150.
Most of the transporters who spoke to Daily Sun hinged the hike on the high cost of fuel from the filling stations, especially independent marketers who have refused to sell at the official pump price.