Queues resurfaced at petrol stations in Abuja with several others shutdown due to unavailability of the product.
The Capital City centre and adjourning suburbs showed that while most stations owned by major marketers were opened with long queues, most stations operated by independent marketers were closed.
The emergence of queues came about three days after the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had assured the public that it had enough petrol in stock and urged consumers against engaging in panic buying.
Signs of possible petrol shortage emerged about two weeks ago when members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) raised the alarm that private depot owners had increased the price of the product by N9 per litre.
To douse anxiety amongst consumers NNPC disclosed that it had over 1.7 billion litres of petrol in stock and more petrol “is expected to arrive into the country daily over the coming weeks and months”.
The Corporation explained that “it is therefore unnecessary to entertain any fear of scarcity of petrol throughout the festive season and beyond.
“The NNPC is also not aware of any plan by government to cause an increase in the pump price of petroleum. The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has made that declaration last week”.
NNPC is advised motorists and other consumers of petrol to maintain their regular pattern of the purchase of petrol without getting into a panic situation that may send the wrong signals around the country.
“The NNPC is also engaging all stakeholders to ensure smooth supply and distribution of products to every part of the country during the festive season and beyond”, it stated.
Despite the assurances however, checks by Vanguard showed that most Independent and Major Marketers in Abuja and its environs have adjusted the pump price to N165 per litre from N162/3 per litre.
Speaking to Vanguard in a telephone interview, IPMAN Public Relations Officer, Chinedu Ukadike blamed challenges in getting the product for the emergence of queues.
He had told Vanguard last week that it was impossible for marketers to buy at an increased cost without passing same to consumers.
Ukadike who warned that most of its members were having challenges accessing the product, stated that government’s intervention was urgently required to avoid a return to the ugly days of petrol queues.
“A lot of marketers are unable to get the product because the private depot owners have raised their price. For those who are able to get at the new rate, it is only natural that the additional cost will be passed on to consumers. We are not charity organizations, we are in business.
“If the government wants the price to remain the same, the government knows what to do. Full deregulation will end all these challenges and allow marketers to sell as they purchased”, he added.