Fighting for Petrol in a Filling Station
Niger Delta region, the host communities of crude oil production in Nigeria from which is gotten Petroleum Products especially the premium motor spirit, Petrol ironically is in dire need of refined petrol. The excruciating scarcity of petroleum products affected the region about a week ago and since then there have been major queues in most of the petroleum filling stations.
The major towns of Port Harcourt, in Rivers state, Yenagoa in Bayelsa State, Uyo in Akwa –Ibom State, Calabar in Cross River state, Asaba and Warri in Delta State as well as Benin in Edo state have shared in the pain and agony of empty filling stations and long queues of vehicles along major roads in their towns waiting for the elusive petrol.
A Major Petroleum Marketer
In some of the few filling stations selling fuel, prices of the petroleum products have been hiked upwards from the official pump price of N142- N145 per litre to between N220- N250 per litre. Several persons have spent their entire Christmas eve sleeping and keeping vigil in filling stations while waiting to buy fuel.
It is gathered that as of this morning of Christmas day most of the fuel depots are empty as the NNPC failed to import and replenish stock for the yuletide season. The major fuel importers are also said to have to Stop importing fuel as they claimed it was no longer profitable to import and sell at the official price of N145 since the new landing cost is now N171. The Marketers were said to have approached the government with a request for an increase in pump price in order to accommodate the new template for fuel importation and distribution.
A Common Sign in Many Filling Stations in Nigeria Today
However, the request of the marketers for the price increase is said to have been rebuffed by the Nigerian government who insisted on fuel being sold at the regulated official price of N145. While reacting to the worsening fuel scarcity across the country, the spokesman for the NNPC Mr. Ndu Ughamadu said: “products from depots must be delivered at approved designated stations while sales must be at an approved retail price of N145 per litre”.
An unnamed presidency sources confirmed that the marketers have been making subtle moves to increase the prices of petroleum product or in the alternative a re-introduction of the fuel subsidy policy to subsidy their import cost which they put at N171 per litre of fuel. However, the Presidency is said to have rejected their demands. This rejection is said to have proven costly as the marketers started hoarding and diversion of petroleum products with Lagos state the worst culprit.
Petrol is being sold in Jerry cans along Streets in Nigeria Today
Corroborating the allegations against the marketers, the President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) also accused the oil marketers in Nigeria of trying to force an increase in the pump price of petrol by hoarding the product to worsen the fuel scarcity crisis in the country.
The National President of PENGASSAN, Comrade Francis Johnson listed the bodies involved to include Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, and the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria.
Long line of motor queue in Filling Stations
Johnson said, “And let me say it here that the oil marketers are complaining, they have been looking for ways to increase fuel price. But the labour unions, Trade Union Congress, Nigeria Labour Congress, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and PENGASSAN are the ones who still fight and say to the marketers that they can’t do that. All of the marketers, IPMAN, DAPPMA, MOMAN, etc, have been agitating for petrol price increase.