Abuja queues persist as NNPC supplies 1.5bn litres of fuel

Agency Report
Agency Report
FILE: Motorists queue for fuel at a filling station

Latest updates on the evacuation of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited show that the oil firm evacuated 1.523 billion litres of PMS between May 16 and June 5, 2022 in a bid to keep the country wet with fuel.

However, this huge supply volume has not completely eradicated the queues formed by motorists daily in filling stations in Abuja and environs, while many other outlets still do not dispense petrol due to lack of products.

Also, the presence of PMS black marketers on major roads in Abuja has remained a normal sight for weeks, as they hustle to meet the fuel supply needs of motorists but at higher prices than the regulated rate.

Figures obtained from NNPC on Monday showed that between May 16 to 29, 2022, the oil firm recorded an average national evacuation of 69.04 million litres. This implies that NNPC evacuated about 966.56 million litres during the two-week period.

Additional data from the company indicated that it evacuated a total of 556.71 million litres between May 30 and June 5, 2022. A summation of the volumes of fuel evacuated from May 16 to June 5 showed that 1.523 billion litres was supplied across the country.

NNPC, being the sole importer of petrol into Nigeria for several years, had often described itself as supplier of last resort and had continued to assure Nigerians that it had enough supply despite the queues in filling stations, particularly in Abuja.

“It is surprising that the queues in Abuja have refused to clear completely, though not severe today due to the Democracy Day holiday. We wonder when most filling stations will again start selling products,” a motorist, Anyaogu Collins, stated while in queue at the NNPC mega-station close to Gwarimpa along the popular Kubwa-Zuba expressway.

It was observed that many outlets on same road were closed on Monday, for instance Eterna filling station at the Dutse end of the expressway, as the Conoil opposite NNPC headquarters, that usually dispensed products, also shut its doors to motorists when our correspondent checked activities at the outlet and others in the city centre.

But oil marketers aligned with NNPC on the availability of products in Nigeria regardless of the queues in the nation’s capital.

They told our correspondent that the queues in Abuja and parts of neighbouring Nasarawa and Niger states were due to challenges associated with logistics.

“It is due to the problem of logistics. There are products and I say this because if there are no products, you will find out that within two to three days the queues will hit Port Harcourt and Lagos,” the National Public Relations Officer, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, stated.

He added, “Anytime you see serious scarcity is when it hits Lagos and Port Harcourt. So the problem has to do with logistics, there are concerns about gridlocks in some loading areas due to the overlapping effect of what happened in the downstream oil sector some months ago.

“But I know that the NNPC is trying as much as possible to load products to Abuja and its environs.”

Ukadike noted that statistics at the disposal of IPMAN showed that products were being evacuated from depots in large volumes to various parts of the country.

He said, “I want to be sincere with you on this, because if you look at most of the barges of trucks that I have their statistics which have loaded between Port Harcourt, Calabar and Lagos, you will find out that NNPC is giving more volumes and priority to marketers who are loading in these areas.

“You will also find out that in Port Harcourt depots, they are also giving priority to trucks that are going to Abuja and environs. So I believe that before long, Abuja will be wet with products.”

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