Difficult times wait for drivers and users of fuel as there are signs that the deficiency will last beyond the New Year.
Investigation on Thursday showed that loading of petrol at private depots and the Nigerian National petroleum Corporation’s depots in Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun and Kwara States had basically come to a stop.
The scarcity of fuel had started with the Yuletide, but assurances by those in charge had increased chances of a quick option. Marketing experts point out the deficiency will get worse.
The National Assembly, about 2 weeks ago, approved N161bn as extra spending plan to maintain the fuel subsidy regime, to prevent the deficiency of petroleum items during the X-mas and New Year events.
But, Fuel deficiency, which has been a recurring decimal in the nation’s downstream petroleum business, has resurfaced.
Spokesperson for the Pipeline and Products Advertising Business Limited, Mr. Nasir Imodagbe, claimed that the scarcity in Lagos was induced by the fire event at Ije-ododo, Ojo Local Government Area of the state.
The surge, which happened last Monday, was claimed to have actually been caused by tasks of fuel hoodlums.
He said though repair work had started on the pipeline, it would not be completed till next week.
He said, “We have started the repair of the pipeline. It is likely going to be completed next week. As soon as it is completed, we will release products through the pipelines.
“We have pipelines all over the country. We should not be having problems with distribution of products. It is important that Nigerians treat the petroleum pipeline as critical national infrastructure. Those that vandalise these pipelines live among us.”
Imodagbe said since the pipeline was vandalised, PPMC had been bridging products to the FCT with trucks.
He said, “Abuja is adequately supplied with products but there was no loading on Christmas Day. This is the reason for the hiccups you have been seeing, coupled with the fact people bought products massively before the Christmas Day.
“Now, people are returning and some are still travelling. That is why there are pressures. We expect that in the next one or two days, the situation will return to normal.”
However, marketers, who spoke to one of our correspondents on the telephone on Thursday, said government was being economical with the truth. He added that loading at private depots in Apapa, Lagos and other NNPC depots in the state as well as Oyo, Ondo, Ogun and Kwara states was almost impossible due to the unavailability of petrol.
The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, South-West branch, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, who spoke to one of our correspondents on the telephone on Thursday evening, said loading at Apapa Depot as well as the Ejigbo, Mosimi, Ilorin and Ore had almost been paralysed.
He said, “I can’t lie to you, much is not happening at Apapa Depot and other depots.
“The problem is just that there is no product to go round. Nigerians should, therefore, endure the situation.”