The lingering fuel scarcity within Ilorin metropolis continued to bite harder as motorists resorted to passing nights on queues at filling stations in the Kwara State capital, National Pilot reports.
Prominent among filling stations were motorists pass the night in order to have fuel in their tanks is the NNPC Mega station located at Asa Dam Road and Bovas filling station, Offa Garage.
It would be recalled that fuel scarcity hit Ilorin, last week, with many filling stations hoarding the commodity with a view to selling it at exorbitant price later.
On the spot assessment by our reporter between 10 – 11pm yesterday revealed that about 31 vehicles were on a long queue from the entrance of the NNPC Mega station in Asa Dam.
It was also observed that some of the owners had slept in their cars waiting endlessly for the management of the filling station to in the early hours of the following day.
Speaking, a motorist, Gabriel BabaJide who was waiting in his Sienna bus decried the situation while calling on the Federal Government to resolve the situation before Christmas.
“I have been here since 3pm and it is unfortunate that we find ourselves sleeping at filling stations just to get fuel. When you come here in the morning, you will see the drivers struggling to gain entrance. It is unfortunate that the government has failed us,” he lamented.
Also a taxi driver, Adamu Ibrahim stressed that he was compelled to sleep over as he has no other means of livelihood.
Another driver, Akande Michael, with a company pickup van, at Bovas filling station said the situation has led to hike in transport fares and prices of foodstuffs in the market.
It was earlier gathered that most filling stations both major and independent marketers from Airport road to Gerin Alimi, Saw Mill and Ibrahim Taiwo road were shut.
Only NNPC Mega station was noticed dispensing fuel along Asa Dam road with long queue of motorists. Also at Ajase- Ipo road, only Bovas filling station was discovered to selling the product on Wednesday.
At Olorunsogo area to Adeta roundabout, no filling station was in operation, same situation was observed at Tanke and Sango area.
Meanwhile, some commuters were stranded as major roads were empty and only few vehicles were noticed plying various routes. Some of the passengers resorted to trekking long distance before getting vehicle to their respective destinations.
Speaking with one of the commuters, Mallam Sa’ad Nadir, a civil servant said, “I woke up early to ensure that I do not resume work late but I have been standing here looking for taxi before 8am and this is almost 9am.”
A trader, Hajia Maimunat Isiaq, said she waited at Mandate road for a few hours without a taxi to convey her to Unity.
Meanwhile, black marketers at Maraba and Murtala Mohammed Way, Ilorin were noticed making brisk business by selling five litres of the product for N1,200 instead of N750.
…to be served free petrol from stations caught hoarding – NPMC
The Managing Director, Nigerian Product Marketing Company, NPMC, Umar Ajiya, yesterday, said petrol from filling stations found to be hoarding products would be confiscated and served free to motorists.
Ajiya said this after an inspection of six stations around the FCT in company of other officials from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
According to him, the disappearance of long queues in Abuja is as a result of hard work and effort between sister agencies – the NPMC, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, and security agencies.
He said, “We moved our operations to 24 hours in all depots and affiliate retail stations.
”Similarly, our majors have done the same in Abuja to complement our efforts. In addition, we increased our truck-out capacity to over 1,300 a day. As you can see, trucks are arriving at several stations.
”We had also beefed up surveillance and directed to serve motorists free petrol confiscated from depots or filling stations found to be hoarding products.
“The genesis of the whole problem was the proposed increase in price, but we had since debunked that. There was no iota of truth in that and people should not indulge in panic buying.”
Ajiya said a plan had been put in place to ensure a steady supply of products all through the Christmas season and beyond.
”We have a robust supply plan. Every day, we have a minimum of one ship arriving Nigeria. Today, we received two ships, tomorrow, we have a ship and the day after; we are expecting two ships, and that is the trajectory going forward until the end of the year.
”One ship on the average carries 50 million litres and in our belief, average consumption in Nigeria is about 35 million litres.
”Once we sustain our current operations, we will not have this kind of situation,” the NPMC boss assured.
He further assured that the DPR had asked its operators to go to depots and monitor prices “and anyone caught selling above official rate should be penalised.”
The NNPC Chief Operating Officer (Ventures), Babatunde Adeniran, who is also in charge of the task force monitoring team told journalists ”we have a robust plan that will take us to the end of the year.
”Our hands are on deck to ensure normal supply and demand without chaos and to clear Lagos, Abuja and every other part of the country.
“Our target is to see black market operators disappear.”