By Seyi Odewale
Long queues at fuel stations in major cities across Nigeria continued yesterday as petroleum products, particularly the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, are becoming scarce, causing most stations to close shops.
This came as the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) ordered its members to start selling petrol at N180 per litre. The association, according to a statement it released yesterday in Lagos and signed by its secretary, Akeem Balogun, said there was no way its members could sell products less than N180 if they wanted to break even.
The statement, dated June 20, 2022, said the association decided after holding a press conference at its IPMAN House in Ejigbo, Lagos State, where it explained its predicament selling petrol at the current pump price of N165 at a private depot.
Tagged Re-petrol pricing, it said: “The Chairman and executives in conjunction with some senior members of our unit, organised a press conference today 20th June 2022, at IPMAN House Ejigbo Lagos, where we explained our predicament with the current price of PMS at a private depot.
“We explained that with the current price, there is no way we can sell less than N180 per litre. On this note, members are hereby advised to sell at a sustainable price within their environment.
“Just make sure that the price is on your pump. Kindly contact the Secretariat should you have any authority challenging your operations.”
The body had earlier complained about the exorbitant price of diesel, which they use in conveying petroleum products to various parts of the country.
According to them, the rate at which they are buying diesel is stifling their business for them, hence they will be running their businesses at a loss by selling the pump price at N165.
Meanwhile, residents of major cities such as Lagos, which is the nation’s economic and commercial nerve centre, Abuja, the nation’s capital, and Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, were in pain as they suffered to get the much-desired PMS to run their vehicles.
For instance, in Lagos, most stations visited by ThisNigeria were either not selling the product or the few available were selling through a single pump, thus resulting in long queues and making motorists spend meaningful hours at the stations.
Two fuelling stations on Mobolaji Bank-Anthony Way in the Ikeja axis of Lagos had a long queue of vehicles of about two kilometres, waiting to buy the product.
Also, on the Gbagbada end of the Oshodi-Oworoshoki expressway, long queues were at the Northwest Petrol Station with motorists anxiously waiting to buy fuel.
Some of them had arrived at the station in the wee hours of the day and could not leave till the evening. This was the situation across most stations in Lagos State.
In Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, motorists reportedly spent more than two hours in queues at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) commercial outlet before getting fuel.
One of the motorists, Paul Aloma, who went from Lokoja to Abuja, lamented the agony he suffered in getting fuel.
“We spent more than two hours getting fuel from the NNPC filling station in Lagos yesterday. The unfortunate thing is that no one seems to know what the cause of this latest scarcity is and the government has not taken steps to address Nigerians on it,” he lamented.
The situation was worst in Abuja yesterday as most stations were shot with their owners claiming they had no fuel to sell to motorists.
The situation, it was learnt, did not start yesterday as marketers said they had been going through difficulty getting supply.
The umbrella body for the petroleum products marketers, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), which spoke through their National Operations Controller, Mike Osatuyi, said one of the reasons for the situation was the shortage of products at depots.
•Operators sound the alarm bell
A filling station manager in one of the independent outlets in Egbeda, a Lagos outskirt, Bayo Emmanuel, said there were indications that the government contemplated increasing the pump price, but was afraid to mention it. “That’s why we are having this tactical reduction in supplies to depots.
This, according to him, means that scarcity may persist because nobody is saying anything about it.
“There is every possibility that this scarcity might drag for some time because no one is saying anything about it,” he stressed.