Fuel Scarcity: Varsity lecturer, Ilorin residents resort to bicycle, trekking


By Mike Adeyemi/Ahmed Sulaiman with agency report

Bicycle and trekking have become the preferred means of transportation of residents of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital as the scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) bites harder.
Educated elite, including teachers, lecturers and undergraduates of tertiary institutions have chosen bicycles as a substitute just as some commuters and car owners have suddenly become pedestrians trekking long distances to and from their destinations.
A Cardiology Consultant with University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH), Dr. Ayo Ogunmodede who now ride on his bicycle to some destinations said though the scarcity was regrettable, the health benefits of such forced physical exercises could not be quantified.
Similarly, a resident of Gaa-Odota, Deji Jamiu informed this medium that he has abandoned his car for a bicycle until till the fuel scarcity subsides.
“I can no longer afford to fuel my car at exorbitant rate per litre. I will rather park my car and wait till the situation improves,” he divulged.
The development is coming on the heels of 100 per cent rise in transport fares within the metropolis, just as the price of PMS yesterday rose to N400 per litre in the unofficial markets popularly known as Black Market.
A resident of Asa Dam, Aminat Sholagberu lamented that she now treks a distance of 3km from her home before she could get a cab to her shop located at Offa Garage.
“Until now, I do enter taxi from my house at Asa Dam to my shop at Offa garage for N50 but the situation has changed as I now part with N100 for same trip. As if that is not enough, I now trek up to three kilometres daily to get a taxi because of the scarcity of fuel.
Meanwhile residents who spend longer time waiting for cabs and buses are yearning for an end to the scarcity, especially civil servants who resumed works today.
Oyebanji Akinola urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency arrest the situation. Also,  Tola Akeju said commuters are at the mercy of transporters who have seized advantage of the situation to increase their fares at will by 50 to 100 per cent.

…NNPC replies petrol marketers

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, DAPPMA, yesterday continued the blame game over the current fuel scarcity.
On Tuesday, the Executive Secretary of DAPPMA, Olufemi Adewole, in a statement in Lagos accused the NNPC of leaving his members’ depots empty of petroleum products, while Nigerians suffered on fuel queues at filling stations across the country.
Adewole blamed the NNPC for the fuel crisis. He accused the state-owned oil corporation of assuming the role of the sole importer of petroleum products, despite that DAPPMA members owned 80 per cent of the functional fuel storage facilities and retail outlets in the country.
“It is on record that any time NNPC assumes the role of sole importer, there are issues of distribution, because it is marketers who own 80 per cent of the functional receptive facilities and retail outlets in Nigeria,” Mr. Adewole said.
He traced the roots of the current fuel crisis to the inability of those contracted by the NNPC to supply petrol under the Direct Sales – Direct Purchase, DSDP, arrangement to deliver, due to pricing challenges.
Besides, Mr. Adewole said, although NNPC usually relied on the facilities of the marketers, including DAPPMA, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, MOMAN and independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, to distribute imported products, the corporation was unable to meet their demands.
“Our members pay PPMC (Pipelines and Products Marketing Company)/NNPC in advance for petroleum products. But, fully paid up PMS orders that have neither been programmed nor loaded is in excess of 500,000 MT (about 800,000,000 litres) as at today, enough to meet the nation’s needs for 19 days at a daily estimated consumption of 35,000,000 litres,” Adewole alleged.
The statement came in the wake of allegations that the current crisis was instigated by the marketers. Some Nigerians including government officials accuse marketers of taking advantage of controlling the bulk of the fuel distribution facilities and outlets to divert and hoard products supplied by NNPC.
But, in its reaction on Wednesday, the NNPC in a statement accused DAPPMA of insincerity, describing as “very unfortunate” the association’s claim that the crisis was as a result of its members being denied products.
“NNPC wishes to affirm that it has supplied appreciable volume to DAPPMA, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria (IPMAN) to rid the challenges currently being experienced in the supply and distribution of petroleum products in the country,” the NNPC said in a statement by its spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu.
“NNPC regrets that DAPPMA, which members had taken receipts of products from Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC, and owe the company to the tune of N26.7 billion as at December 21, 2017, has the audacity to indict NNPC unjustifiably,” Ughamadu said.
Ughamadu said DAPPMA’s claim that the current fuel scarcity was due to the inability of the DSDP partners of NNPC to deliver was “unfounded and self-indicting.” He said many DAPPMA members also patronise the same DSDP partners.
The NNPC said it became the sole importer and supplier of petrol to the Nigerian market because DAPPMA members were unable to meet expectations. This is despite the concession by government giving DAPPMA access to foreign exchange to import petrol at an official rate of N305 to the dollar, the spokesperson said.
On what the corporation was doing to resolve the crisis, the NNPC said in addition to the increase in the supply of petrol since the beginning of this month (December 2017), it has also programmed to supply over 1.2 billion litres of the white products in January 2018.

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