Petrol scarcity in Abuja, Nasarawa and Niger states continued on Tuesday, causing transport fares to shoot up by over 100 per cent in most locations of the affected areas.
The scarcity of petrol gave black marketers an opportunity to come to the road and brazenly plying right in front of filling stations and under the glare of security operatives as if they were engaged in legitimate business.
The black marketers sold the commodity for between N300 to N500 per litre.
The fuel scarcity brought back long queues at the few filling stations that had petroleum products to sell on Tuesday.
Taxi drivers in Abuja City Centre hiked their fares by over 100 per cent, collecting over N1,000 for distances that were previously between N500 and N700.
In the midst of all this scarcity, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) through its agency, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), had informed Nigerians that there was enough stock to last for 40 days and that there was absolutely no reason for long queues in filling stations.
The DPR warned that those caught hoarding petroleum products would be sanctioned.
Reacting to the development, the oil marketers said there have been shortage in the supply of petrol by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Ukadike Chinedu had this to say:
“We’ve had distortions in petrol supply and it’s like there is not enough products now, but NNPC recently said it had about 40 days’ stock,”
He also noted that NNPC had insisted there was no plan to increase the price of petrol in March, but many marketers are still skeptical.
According to The Punch, Chinedu said independent marketers were not buying petrol at the normal approved ex-depot price of N148 per litre from depots, adding that many IPMAN members bought the commodity for a price between N160 and N162 per litre.
“If you buy your product at N162 per litre, will you sell at N162, N165 per litre as approved by government? That is the issue; so tell me, why won’t there be price increase?” he asked.
The spokesperson, NNPC, Kennie Obateru, had debunked the news of price increment in the commodity and that the corporation has no plan to hike the price in March.
The corporation and oil marketers are calling on the Department of Petroleum Resources, the regulator of the sector, to clamp down on depots that are selling petrol above the normal approved ex-depot price.