Scarcity: Fuel Price Hit N800/Litre Despite Arrival of 240 Million Litres of Petrol

by Ohepo Ohepo

Nigeria is grappling with a severe fuel scarcity crisis, even as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has begun offloading a substantial 240 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol). Despite these efforts, fuel prices have skyrocketed, with filling stations selling petrol at an average price of N800 per litre across various locations.

The recent importation involved five vessels offloading into five depots on Monday, as confirmed by Ayo Cardoso, the South-West Regional Coordinator of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), in an interview with The PUNCH. However, the influx of fuel has not yet alleviated the crisis, as many filling stations remain shut, and those open are experiencing significantly higher pump prices, ranging between N650 and over N1,000 per litre.

The situation has been further exacerbated by an NNPCL directive prioritizing the Federal Capital Territory for fuel distribution, leaving other regions, particularly Lagos and the South-West, grappling with worsening scarcity. Black marketers are capitalizing on the situation, with prices soaring to over N1,200 per litre in some locations.

Long queues have formed at the few operating filling stations, adding to the public’s distress as the country resumes work and school activities. The crisis coincides with the resumption of public schools in some states, compounding the challenges faced by parents, teachers, and school owners.

Cardoso reassured the public, stating, “We are doing something about the fuel crisis; very soon it will be over. Vessels are discharging as I am talking to you. What we are concentrating on is to push the NNPCL, which is the supplier of last resort, to make sure they wet the entire populace.”

Despite these assurances, the reality on the ground reflects widespread panic and disruption. The Heyden filling station in Iperu Remo, Ogun State, for instance, sold petrol at N650 per litre amid altercations among desperate buyers. One motorist, Ismail, expressed his frustration after waiting in line since early morning without success. Another individual, an attendant from a different station, shared his ordeal of having to queue for hours to obtain fuel for his workplace.

As Nigerians await potential announcements regarding fuel pricing from the president expected on May 1, the urgency of the situation underscores the need for effective management and distribution strategies to mitigate the impact of this ongoing crisis.

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