Lagos - Speculations about an imminent increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit has sparked panic buying in Lagos and other neigbouring states.
Long queues of desperate motorists and other customers, which spilled onto the road and caused gridlock are seen in most areas in Lagos state.
Recent attacks on a crude oil pipeline in Warri, leading to the shutdown of the Warri and Kaduna refineries, had affected fuel supply in many parts of the country according to marketers.
Most of the filling stations visited by News24 were not dispensing the product as they claimed they had no supply from the depots.
Kunle Makinde, a manager at Easy Life Petrol Station who spoke on the matter said that most filling stations including his were not selling because they couldn't get enough supply from the depots.
'We have been at the depot now for the past three days trying to get supply but to no avail. They sell to marketers at the rate of 109/litre which is on the high side. That's why any filling station dispensing now will do it at the rate of N150 and above".
A motorist, Sola Animashaun, said the he bought fuel at a filling station in Akowonjo area of Lagos state at the rate of N150. He said it was only the filling station that was dispensing fuel in the area and had a long queue of vehicles.
The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Lagos Zone, Tokunbo Korodo said, “We are back to square one. The enemies of Nigeria are at work. In Lagos, the depots have returned to rationing fuel.
Also read: Fuel scarcity will end by next week - Kachikwu
“Some of the tankers have started coming from the far North to Lagos, because the little they were getting from the refinery in their locality has been affected by the recent attacks on the pipelines. The Warri and Kaduna refineries have been shut down.”
On the fears that petrol price would be increased, Korodo said, “Our attention has not been drawn to it. But I know the marketers have been meeting with the government. Maybe that is the only way out. I have said that the cabals are at work, trying to bend this government forcefully to their side.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation is said to be planning a joint venture partnership with private investors to secure and manage about 5 000 kilometres of pipelines across the country.
Minister of Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu had earlier promised that the fuel scarcity would end in May.
"The queues are as a result of sabotage. Some people rather than sell products send them into interlands where they can sell at ridiculous prices and so you are having this price distortions where people are making a lot of money, some are internal and some are external but a lot of it is marketers trying to make quick returns on their investments wrongly," he said.
- News 24