• It’ll ease soon, NNPC assures
The persisting fuel scarcity forced thousands of motorists in Abuja to celebrate their Christmas at various filling stations across the city.
As early as 3:00am, hundreds of motorists had queued at the NNPC mega stations and other retail outlets owned by independent marketers within the metropolis, long before the dispensing staff resumed about 5:00am.
Interestingly, some retail outlets have commenced a 24-hour operation, just as the Federal Government had directed all depots to run round the clock to enable rapid lifting of petrol to serve all the states across the country.
Aside the NNPC mega stations, some major marketers like Conoil, MRS and Oando located within the Wuse area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) had petrol, but with the usual frightening queues.
Sola Oladeinde, an IT expert said: “Aside December 25 being Christmas Day, it’s also my birthday. I was born 43 years ago and this 2017 Christmas and my birthday is the worst. I’ve been here at this Conoil opposite the NNPC headquarters since 5:00am and this is 3:00pm, yet I’ve not bought fuel. I learnt at a point they stopped selling to enable them off-load or something. This is my worst experience. No money, no petrol even at N200/litre, no light, no jobs. And they’re showing a human side of the President meaning he has been inhuman. I’ve never seen a nightmare like this all my life,” he lamented.
Maxwell Lloyd, a banker also groaned: “My children were still sleeping when I sneaked out of the house with jerry cans in my vehicle and began hunting for fuel. There’s no sign of Christmas at all. Virtually all men are trapped in filling stations.
“They said we should watch the human side of Buhari; where is the electricity? Where is the fuel to run the generators? Is this life? This is 3:30pm, no fuel yet. I bought N4,000 for this compressed 10-litre jerry can. I’m tired of this promises without action.” he said.
Meanwhile, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Maikanti Baru has urged Nigerians to exercise patience as the scarcity nightmare will be addressed before the end of the year.
“We’re back on drawing board to look at what is happening. We’ll do all we can to bring things to normalcy.
“The initial queues were caused by the rumours of a purported planned price hike of petrol; and then there was panic buying. From there, there was hoarding and then diversion of products to neighbouring countries for the price increase to materialise.
“It was later normalised, and then rekindled by the PENGASSAN strike, which was called off after people already nursed the fear of price hike.
“But, now, we’ve instructed a 24-hour sales at depots. Major marketers have also been advised to truck out products in a 24-hour operations.
“We’ve increased daily supplies to 45 million litres even though the average daily consumption is 27-28 million litres. We will deliver 300 million litres for rest of the month. Again, over the last weeks, truck capacity has been beefed up.
“NNPC is right now about the sole importer of petrol in the country since the landing cost has increased to N171.40k with high exchange rate.
“We’ve scaled up monitoring activities to ensure compliance to delivery to stations and that petrol sells at the appropriate price of 145/litre,” he said.