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Fuel scarcity bites harder

By Akinnodi Francis,Victor Akinkuolie,Michael Ofulue, Osogbo & Kayode Afolabi, Ore

The scarcity of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol is bitting harder and getting out of hands across the country, particularly in Ondo State and neighbouring States.

This is coming at a time when Nigerians are optimistic that with the commencement of operations at the Dangote refinery and Port-Port Harcourt refinery, petroleum products prices will drop

The Hope gathered that the sudden and artificial scarcity of fuel is already taking its painful toll on commuters and transporters alike in Akure, the Ondo State capital, and other towns.

In Akure, commuters are groaning as cost of transportation has gone up by fifty percent

On Sunday, majority of the petrol stations within the state capital did not dispense the product, while long queues were noticed at few stations that dispensed the product.

Reports from major cities across the state confirmed the  scarcity of the product in the last few days, forcing consumers to buy at exorbitant price.

The scarcity has led to long queues at the few stations that dispensed the product, forcing consumers to buy at exorbitant price.

Investigation revealed that the price of the product ranges from N720 at the major marketers stations, and N850 at the independent marketers.

In Ore, the headquarters of Odigbo Local Government area of Ondo state, our correspondent who visited some filling stations within the metropolis gathered that petrol price ranges between N750 to N800 per litre, with long queues.

A motorcyclist identified as Ola Balogun said “honestly, I am short of words about this issue of fuel scarcity, I have been on this long queue for hours and upon that, I still can’t get the fuel.

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“I don’t know why filing stations are hoarding fuel, as it is now in Ore, most filling stations prefer to sell fuel at dawn because of reasons best known to them

“I just hope this issue of fuel scarcity won’t last longer or else things will get worse, as it will affect we the motorcyclists, entrepreneurs and the likes.”

In Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, some marketers who opened for business were selling the product at the rate of N800, while some sold at the exorbitant price of N1,000 still with queues.

Some motorists who spoke on the development lamented over the high price of the commodity, while some said the hike in the price of the product has further led to an increase in the price of other commodities in the state capital.

Some travellers, Babalola Emmanuel and Sunday Abi, who spoke with our correspondent lamented the increase in the price of transportation.

In Osogbo, the Osun State capital, due to the scarcity of fuel, the state government Taskforce on Petroleum Price Monitoring warned owners of petrol stations across the state against hoarding of the product to create artificial scarcity.

In a statement by the Chairman of the Taskforce and Chief of Staff to the State Governor, Kazeem Akinleye, the taskforce noted that its surveillance across the state revealed that most filling stations were hoarding petrol products, thereby worsening the fuel supply situation in the state.

The Chairman posited that surveillance activities were conducted in major towns and the state capital in the last three days which showed some marketers were hoarding fuel to create artificial scarcity.

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The Taskforce consequently issued strong warning to affected filling stations which are already listed as direct culprits to open up their tanks and dispense fuel to the members of the public.

The statement further tasked marketers to be public spirited in their pricing, reminding them of the already harsh economic situation on the members of the public.

The Taskforce added that failure to stop the fuel hoarding and take humanitarian notice of the prevailing economic situation in the country will lead to severe sanctions.

The scarcity is coming despite the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited’s (NNPCL) assurance of product availability.

A statement signed by NNPCL’s chief corporate communications officer, Olufemi Soneye reads: “The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) wishes to clarify that the tightness in the supply of Premium Motor Spirit currently being experienced in some areas across the country is due to logistics issues, which have been resolved.

“It also wishes to reiterate that the prices of petroleum products are not changing, avoid panic buying as there is a sufficiency of products in the country”.

Since the NNPC message to Nigerians, the situation has not improved, even black marketers have also taken advantage of the situation.

According to a commercial driver in Akure, Gbenga Ojo said most filling stations were locked under the guise that there is no fuel, while black marketers are selling a litre of petrol between N800 and N1,200 to motorists who cannot wait in long queues.

“Rumours heard it that the price of fuel will soon go down as from May 2024 when Dangote refinery start refining premium motor spirit (fuel), I don’t know why this marketers are hoarding the product at this hour.

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“I don’t know how true is this any way. The activities of petroleum marketers in Ondo State should be checked as they are afflicting pains on citizens of the state.”

A petrol station manager, Kunle Olawale told The Hope that the situation is due to the unavailability of the products.

He added, “clearing products from the depot is proving to be challenging, and many filling stations are eagerly awaiting cheaper petrol prices from the Dangote refinery and Port Harcourt refinery. Consequently, they are hesitant to make significant purchases, as they have encountered difficulties in reselling for profit.”

Also, a manager of one of the stations said that there is shortage of supply by the NNPCL, the sole importer of the product.

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