The Nigerian government and fuel marketers have offered varying explanations for the ongoing fuel scarcity that has affected states across the country for weeks without reprieve with pump price hitting N270 in many places.
While the NNPC said the queues in Lagos and Abuja are largely due to ongoing “road infrastructure projects” around Apapa and access road challenges in some parts of Lagos depots, major marketing group IPMAN said it was caused by high prices imposed by fuel depot owners who store the product for the NNPC.
In the past weeks, long queues returned to filling stations in many cities across the country, leaving people struggling to go to work or engage in other daily activities.
The scarcity has persisted with filling stations operating at reduced capacity despite the government’s repeated claims it has enough stocks.
In October, fuel scarcity hit major Nigerian cities including Abuja and Lagos. At the time, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) blamed the shortage on flooding in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, that stopped fuel truckers from dispensing.
However, weeks after the flood receded, queues resurfaced. Investigation indicates that many filling stations are closed, while the few selling the fuel were besieged by motorcyclists, tricycle owners, as well as private and commercial drivers.
Many filling stations in the APO, Wuse, Gwagwalada, and Banex areas of Abuja sold petrol at prices ranging between N179 and N210. Outside Abuja, residents said fuel stations sold petrol for N250 in many states.