Panic buying is hitting Lagos and environs as rumours of an impending petrol scarcity are gathering momentum in the city. As a result, this reporter went around a few petrol stations in the Festac area of the city, and having spoken with a few marketers, we learned that a lot of marketers are stalling on importation over fears that the government may not fulfil its obligations to them if power changes hands after the elections.
At Total filling station in Festac, an attendant who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that supplies had not come from the depot. This claim was made at two other petrol stations, so we called the chairman of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers in Lagos, Tokunbo Korodo, who assured of a supply of petrol, but admitted that the uncertainty was an issue.
Korodo said the marketers were currently taking actions to check possible losses that could affect their businesses, and were unwilling to go all out to import products. He described the current petrol supply situation as artificial, saying the recent stoppage of importation by the major marketers could also be working against a perfect market situation.
“The effects of the shortage in supply, which caused the last scarcity, are still there. Some of the gaps are yet to be filled,” he added.
However, a member of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, who craved anonymity, said the supply of petrol had not been sustained in recent times. He said the move by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to bring in products when scarcity hit the market in the past week was cosmetic, adding that major marketers had yet to fully come on board to fortify supply.