14 DECEMBER 2021
By Mary Izuaka
<i>In several parts of the city, motorists struggled to buy petrol while many filling stations were closed.</sub>
Fuel queues resurfaced in Abuja on Monday as the federal capital witnessed another round of shortage that left several petrol stations closed.
This was despite assurances by the<a target=”_blank” href=”https://www.nnpcgroup.com/Pages/Home.aspx”> Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited</a> that it had enough supply to last all through the festive period and beyond.
It was not immediately clear what the cause of the latest queues was.
A PREMIUM TIMES correspondent who visited petrol stations Monday afternoon found that some of the stations were shut against intending buyers, while others were besieged by motorcyclists, tricycle owners, as well as private and commercial drivers.
Black marketers were also seen hawking the product in jerry cans to interested motorists and other consumers.
Many filling stations in the Wuse and Jahi areas of the city sold to buyers at prices ranging from N162 to N165.
Total filling station located in Wuse was shut Monday afternoon. An official told PREMIUM TIMES that they had exhausted their stock.
Similarly, Azman Oil and Gas Nig Ltd at Wuse was opened but an official said the station had no stock too.
“The product just finished this afternoon but we are expecting to get it in the evening,” he said.
A long queue was also seen at Emadeb and Mobil filling stations in Jahi, Saddi Kamal, A.A.Rano in Lugbe. AFDIN, Shema and Dan oil along Lugbe airport road were under lock and key.
At one of the NNPC outlets in the Central Business District along Wuse Road, there was a huge crowd at the station Monday afternoon, as motorists struggled to buy petrol.
“As you can see we still sell at N162 per litre but all I can tell you is that Monday is usually like this, this is because most fuel stations sell off their product during the weekend and they are trying to restock. That’s why you see queues in most fill stations,” an official, Mohammed Labaran, said.
Nipco filling station, located at Bannex was under lock and key Monday afternoon, just as the Eterna located opposite Austoma filling station at Bannex did not also sell the product.
Some hawkers were spotted in front of the Austoma filling station, at Bannex Aminu Kano crescent selling the product in 10-litre jerry cans for between N2,500 and N3,000 to motorists, who could not stay in queues at the filling station.
A car owner, Ogbonna Egbe, told PREMIUM TIMES that there was fuel but some filling stations were hoarding the product.
“As you can see I just bought 30 litres for N8,000. I have been in the queue for the past two hours but I ended up buying black market,” he said.
“I think some filling stations are hoarding their fuel because of the new price proposed for January.”
Some cab drivers said there was panic buying.
The station manager, at Austoma filling station at Bannex Aminu Kano crescent, who refused to give his name, said he was surprised with the large crowd queuing up for fuel.
He said he did not know what was happening, but that he had observed that other filling stations around were not selling.
A businessman who was at Austoma filling station at Bannex Aminu Kano crescent, to fuel his car identified himself as Abdullahi, told PREMIUM TIMES that he had spent more than an hour in the queue.
“I felt so bad because I have been here in the filling station for some hours now. You can see about three angles of the queue that came into the station,” he said.
“And as you can see it’s only one pump that is selling.
‘I believe that some filling stations have fuel but the issue is that some are hoarding it so that they can increase the price. But all this is uncalled for.”
A civil servant at the station, who identified himself as Emeka, said he has been in search of fuel since Sunday night but still couldn’t get petrol.
“The problem we have in Nigeria begins with us not only the government because right now I have the money to buy fuel but I can not get it, this is panic buying. Sunday night I went in search of fuel but still couldn’t get it,” he said.
“I drove down to NIPCO here at Bannex today to buy fuel only for me to realize that NIPCO is not selling, they are hoarding fuel because of the increment pronounced to happen in January.
“Eterna are not selling also, only Austoma that is selling but the problem here is that there is only one pump that is dispensing.
“Have been here for the past an hour and 30 minutes to tell you how corrupt and bad the country is.
“Filling stations hoard fuel because they heard that fuel will be going for as high as three hundred and something next year.
“It is sad to know that a country that generates fuel can’t even boost enough.”
He said I want to urge the government to stop playing mind games on people and they should act and lead us alright.
In Kubwa, there was panic buying also as motorists plugged up filling stations.
Also, this reporter observed long queues at A. A Rano filling station in Jahi and airport road.
At A. A. Rano filling station in Jahi, motorists was seen navigating their ways into the middle of queues to get access into the wasion only to realise that no pump is dispersing.
An official of the A. A Rano filling station in Jahi, Farouk Abubakar, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES said, “We sold this morning, we started selling till around 4.30 am to 5.00 am. That’s when the fuel finished as you can see, we are discharging now.
“And immediately after discharge, we will start selling.
“As you can see we are still selling N165. We don’t add price Because we are here to sell and not to keep. That’s the policy of this station and this is a competitive market,” he said.
A commercial driver, Ojo James, lamented that the government was aware of the hoarding by some fuel stations.
Mr James said I was thanking God to have succeeded in driving into the fill station, only for me to realize that they are not even selling.
“Throughout today I have been looking for fuel. Some filling stations have fuel but they don’t want to sell it. Right now, I must tell you that I am feeling very sad.
“I know that the government is aware of this because if they are not aware, this will not be happening and that’s the plain truth,” he said.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had last month said that there will be no increase in the price of petrol in the country, and advised against panic-buying.
“NNPC had over 1.7 billion litres of petrol in stock and more of the product is expected to arrive in the country daily over the coming weeks and months.
“It was, therefore, unnecessary to entertain any fear of scarcity of petrol throughout the festive season and beyond.
“The NNPC is also not aware of any plan by the government to cause an increase in the pump price of petroleum,” NNPC had said in a statement in November.
The spokesperson of Nigeria’s state-owned oil company, NNPC, Kennie Obateru, did not return a phone call or respond to questions sent to him seeking his comments as at Monday evening.