The present petrol scarcity in some parts of the country is a result of efforts by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to recall harmful imported petroleum products.
Moneycentral has observed that long queues resurfaced recently at filling stations in Abuja and Lagos.
While the cause of the fuel scarcity is het to be confirmed, many Nigerians have been left stranded at bus stops while others lament hikes in transport fare.
A motorist who spoke to newsmen in Obalende alleged that many stations were not dispensing fuel, rather they chose to create artificial scarcity while others attributed the scarcity to increased demand for fuel due to power outage following a fire incident that led to the shutdown of Nigeria’s largest power plant, Egbin, from the national grid, last week.
According to news sources, most of the petrol imported into the country under the Direct Sale, Direct Purchase (DSDP) contract has a high content of methanol and ethanol, which are outside the official specification of Nigeria’s petrol. “This product is highly harmful to the market,” a source said.
A senior official in the downstream sector, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the development, adding that NNPC is currently doing a product tracing to contain the harmful implication in the market.
“Nigeria should not be doing business with companies with bad reputation in the market. The implication is very cruel on the consumers of these products, most especially Lagosians,” he stated.
In addition, checks by Moneycentral verified that bad or poor quality product was noticed a week ago as many automobiles were affected in Abuja and other parts of the nation.
It also revealed that relevant authorities which got to know about the development decided to stop or reduce distribution for proper investigation.
This culminated in the emergence of long queues in Abuja, Lagos, Ogun and other states.
The issue of dirty petrol is coming at a time when there is a raging controversy on the removal of petrol subsidy or otherwise. The NNPC has always allayed fears of any hitch in the supply of petroleum products, assuring of its availability, despite reported cases of scarcity in some parts of the country.
HOWEVER, despite the repeated assurances, the entire country may be plunged into another round of terrifying fuel scarcity if the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) makes bold its statement of withdrawing haulage service should the Federal Government fail to urgently address the rising cost of operation that its members are facing.
Top on the list, according to the union, is the ever-increasing cost of diesel, which petrol tankers run on and which is part of the determinants of freight charges. The cost of diesel presently is N430 per litre.
The association’s National President, Yusuf Lawal Othman, in a statement, yesterday, stated that his members now find it difficult to remain afloat because of the high freight rate, which is regulated and paid in arrears.
He insisted that members would be advised to ground their haulage tankers if nothing was done to address the matter, describing the business environment as scorching and unbearable. “Our people have parked their trucks and more people are going to park theirs,” he said.