It’s no longer news that residents of Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, woke up to the emergence of long queues at filling stations over the weekend due to scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), especially the island part of the state.
The long queue of vehicles, which were hitherto absent on the mainland area, seems to have stretched to that axis as the scarcity of petrol seems to have persisted across the state on Tuesday and has led to gridlock in areas affected affecting movement.
Investigations by Nairametrics showed that some petrol stations were locked while a number of them that were opened for business, had long queues of motorists waiting to buy fuel, both on the island and mainland parts of Lagos.
The situation is reported not to be different in the capital city of Abuja, and some other states, where majority of the filling stations are closed, with motorists also spending long hours trying to buy fuel at the few ones that are open.
According to some reports, the current fuel scarcity in Lagos, Abuja and some other states is due to the alleged withdrawal of adulterated petrol by the sole importer of the product, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
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It was alleged that some of the petrol imported into the country under the Direct Sale, Direct Purchase (DSDP) contract has a high content of methanol and ethanol, which are regarded as highly harmful.
On the discovery of the bad and poor quality of fuel, the relevant authorities decided to stop and reduce the distribution of the product for proper investigation, leading to shortage of supply from NNPC depots and even private depots around Lagos axis.
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Also, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) blamed the shortage of supply on issues surrounding the presence of bad and contaminated fuel in the market as well as undersupply from the NNPC.
The reported cases of fuel scarcity and long queues in Lagos and Abuja seems to have emerged despite the assurances by the NNPC over a week ago that the company has sufficient stock of petrol, to meet the needs of Nigerians.
Also, in a move that might exacerbate the crisis, the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) have threatened to withdraw their haulage services should the federal government fail to urgently address the rising cost of operation that its members are facing.
This cost includes ever-increasing cost of diesel, which the petrol tankers use and is a major factor in the determinant of freight charges.
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Recall that Nairametrics had yesterday reported scarcity of fuel and long queue of vehicles on the island part of Lagos over the weekend up until Monday morning.
The situation which persisted caused serious traffic logjam in the affected areas.