Rowdiness and long queue resurfaced in many fuel stations in Lagos, on Tuesday, following a short supply of petrol, resulting in panic buying by motorists.
The NewsZenith reports that queues are beginning to build in some filling stations in Lekki-Aja, Victoria Island, Apapa, Maryland, Onipan, Ikoyi Mjushin and Victoria Island among others.
Our correspondent also reports that many filling stations, mostly independent marketers, in areas visited, did not have the product to sell, while those with commercial stocks increased their pump prices unofficially, ranging between N190 and N250 per litre, depending on location.
The National Operations Controller of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mr Mike Osatuyi, who confirmed the fuel scarcity, attributed the development to unsteady supply in the past few days.
Osatuyi said that as a result of the unsteady supply, depot prices had risen from N165 to N177 and N178 per litre in Apapa and its environs.
“The marketers will only sell what they buy. If the price of petrol increases, we add our transportation cost and other charges to the selling price,” he said.
He appealed to NNPC and NMDPRA to supply enough petrol across the country to ease scarcity.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has appealed to Nigerians not to engage in panic buying of petrol, saying it has enough in stock.
Mr Farouk Ahmed, the Chief Executive Officer, NMDPRA said he had checked with the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Nigeria National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPC) on the level of fuel stock and that they confirmed that they had sufficient stock.
“l spoke with the MOMAN’S Executive Secretary this morning and he told me they have sufficient stock.
“I have directed them to start evacuating the product immediately to filling stations. NNPC has also confirmed sufficiency and they have commenced evacuation.
“From now till tomorrow the situation will be back to normal. I don’t know what is happening but we are on top of the situation,” Ahmed said.
He assured that there was enough fuel and, therefore, appealed to members of the public to avoid panic buying as all efforts were being made to resolve the shortage in some filling stations in Lagos and its environs.
Also, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Western Zone, has attributed the increase in the pump price of petrol to the hike in private depot prices.
Alhaji Dele Tajudeen, Chairman, IPMAN Western Wone, in an interview condemning the increase, saying there had been increasing in depot price of fuel from N148.17 per litre to N178 per litre since last week.
According to Tajudeen, none of the NNPC depots has the product and the private depots took advantage of the situation to hike the price.
“The only option for our members is to opt for private depots to keep our business moving.
“We are totally against the increase because it will affect our profit margins and the masses.
“Some private depots who have the product, deliberately, refused to sell for reasons best known to them,” he said.
The chairman said that the marketers should not be blamed for the increase in pump price, adding that selling at N170 per litre “is not realistic”.
“Our members have no other option than to sell between N195 and N200 per litre within Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states, while we will sell between N200 and N210 in Kwara, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti states.
“Most of the tank farm owners have justified this increase because of different charges, among which are vessels charges paid in dollars.
“We are equally calling on the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPC) and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) to investigate the arbitrary increase in fuel price by the private depot owners.
However, a top official of the Depot and Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPMAN), who does not want his name in print because of competency, said that the scarcity was a result of the shortfall in product allocation from the NNPC.
The source alleged that DAPPMA had many performance invoices with the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) which were still awaiting supply.
The source hinted that a large portion of product allocation was given to the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) because it is believed that they have a large reach of retail outlets.
“We have many invoices before NNPC that have not been allocated.
“Ex-depot price has been between N162 and N163 per litre for marketers within Lagos and its environs, while between N164 and 165 for marketers outside Lagos like Calabar, Port Harcourt, Owerri and so on.
“Some foreign vessels that came into the country refused to discharge, due to financial challenges, but the shortfall in the product can best be explained by NNPC and its agencies,” the source said.