Suffering in the land: no fuel, no power
Fuel scarcity is no longer limited to certain parts of the country; it has spread across the 36 states and it appears the shortage will endure except the Federal Government keeps its promise that the scarcity will end this week April 7
Sunday is usually a calm day in Igando, Alimosho Local Development area of Lagos. But yesterday was different. The whole length of Igando-Ikotun road was blocked by a long queue of cars, buses, tricycles and motorcycles waiting to buy fuel (Premium Motor Spirit) at the Total Filling Station. This crowd was joined by a mass of jerrycan-bearing customers; some of them came with their generating sets to the filling station. Therefore many worshippers and other commuters were trapped in the gridlock for hours.
One of the fuel attendants at the station attributed the huge crowd to the lack of fuel supply at the surrounding filling stations. And the few that have stock sell only in the night at a high price. “We sell at the official price of N86.50,” said the attendant.
Though, the government has reduced the price of petrol from N87 to N86.50 per litre, fuel is sold at a very high price according to PMS report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
A litre of petrol sells between N200 and N300 by the road side in Lagos as The Guardian investigation revealed. Reports from the South-East and South-South show that the price of PMS per litre is higher.
A car driver at the Total Filling station who said he had been on the queue for two hours because the line was moving too slowly, wondered why Nigerians should still be queuing for fuel which the country produces in large quantity .
“The petrol attendants sell to those with jerry cans first because they charge them between N100 and N200 per gallon depending on the size of the gallon”
The story of the perennial shortage of fuel across the country has left many Nigerians increasingly frustrated in the last one month.
Apart from standing hours un-end on the queue, motorists complained that they often waited in vain. “You could wait forever, and after sometime, the fuel attendants will tell you the fuel has finished or that they are no longer selling, what you can do, asked a woman.
The scarcity also affects trading activities in Lagos.Traders at various markets across Lagos State have complained of low patronage of their businesses in recent months, saying the situation has made life difficult for them.
A cross section of the traders decried the situation in separate interviews yesterday.
Mr. Douglas, a dry cleaner at Irepodun estate, Ikotun, said he has a pile of clothes that he could not yet launder because there is no electricity. “I don’t even mind buying petrol, but I cannot see the petrol to buy. Most of the filling stations are shut down. And PHCN has not given us electricity in the last two weeks.”
Mr. Innocent Muoka, a shoe seller, said he had been experiencing low patronage in his business for some time now. Muoka said the drastic reduction in the volume of sales had affected his turnover.
“Now we sell our wares without gain; we sell our wares just to have money to feed and this is very bad. I do not know what is happening, but I only appeal to government to release money into the economy so that business can boom again,’’ he said.
Mrs Iyabo Omisore, who sells kitchen utensils, said that patronage to her business this time was at a very low level.Omisore also said the situation was made worse by the current petrol scarcity in the state which had increased the cost of transportation in the state and the country.
“There is nothing going on at all; now is a very dull moment. Transport fares within the state and other parts of the country have increased.“Sometimes we come to the market only to sleep in the shop. The situation is really difficult for us,” she said.
A dealer in textiles, Mr. Michael Daniel, also decried the poor sales experienced by traders.
According to Daniel, the situation may have resulted from the delay in the passage and implementation of the 2016 budget.
“People say it is because of the delay in passing the budget. I am worried because the situation is affecting me and my family.
“I even hawk around this time just to see if I can sell something and get money in order to feed my family; and after the hustling, I come back with little or nothing. It is really a though situation,’’ Daniel said.
Meanwhile, the acting Executive Secretary of Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), Sotonye Iyoyo, issued a statement yesterday that its retail prices of N86.00 for the NNPC, and N86.50 for the other marketing companies still remain
The statement advised marketers to ensure that there is no price distortion in their respective fuel stations. “PPPRA is resolutely committed to the sustenance of its reform initiatives, in order to further guarantee adequate supply of products nationwide.
“We, therefore, assure Nigerians of our total commitment to service delivery, in the quest to deliver on our mandate to the people of Nigeria,” the statement said.