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Saturday, 29 September 2012

Fuel Scarcity Worsens In Lagos Despite NNPC Assurances


The current fuel scarcity in Lagos and environs, which started a fortnight ago, is gradually becoming a way of life, as most filling stations, especially those owned by independent marketers, with products to dispense are selling Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, for as much as N120 per litre in some places.
A drive round the metropolis yesterday showed that most stations were not selling petrol, while a few dispensing had to contend with long queues.
The scarcity has affected traffic on the roads, with fewer vehicles plying the routes, thus compelling commuters to wait longer at the bus stops.
On the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway leading to Apapa Ports, traffic was as light as normally witnessed on public holidays. Same for Agege Motor road and Abeokuta Expressway.
The situation appears to be getting worse by the day, despite assurances by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that it had taken measures to scale up supplies to Lagos and environs.
Gradually, hoarding or selling in the night, and hawking of petrol in jerry cans and kegs, as well as black market are thriving in the city, even close to filling stations, with some of the products looking adulterated.
Investigations by The Guardian showed that there is little sign of the situation getting better this week, even as the country marks its 52nd independence anniversary.
At one of the filling stations in the city, an attendant, when confronted over the increase in pump price, said he was acting on instruction of his manager.
The manager at another station selling at N110 told The Guardian that he bought the product at the rate of 96 per litre from the depot.
The few with the product and selling at the official rate of N97 per litre had hectic time coping with the surging crowd of customers of mainly commercial bus drivers.
Some marketers were selling 10 litres of petrol for between N1700 and N2000, while others sold at N1500, depending on the location.
It was gathered that about 92 ships are to arrive Lagos ports between September 26 and 22 October, 17 of which would convey petroleum products.
Some are said to have already arrived and waiting to berth and discharge petroleum products at various oil terminals within the Lagos ports.
The discharge of the products would bring some relief to Lagosians, who are worried that the country may be about to return to the past, where fuel queues were common scenes.
The fuel shortage was initially attributed to the refusal of petroleum products importers to import fuel as a result of Federal Government’s delay in paying them for the products already brought in, as it tried to verify their claims, following monumental fraud that had chatacterised the exercise recently.
The situation was worsened by the attack on officials trying to fix vandalised pipelines at Arepo which conveys products to Mosemi depot in Ore, Ondo State, the main bridging point.

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