Oil marketers have expressed fears that there might be scarcity of petrol if the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited fails to make the product available to depot owners and other dealers.
They said the long queues being experienced in filling stations and some parts of Ogun State might eventually spread to other parts of the nation should the NNPCL fail to sell enough petrol to distributors.
we reported that long queues have since Monday resurfaced in different filling stations in Lagos State, causing traffic gridlock in Ikeja and other areas, as residents feared there might be a fresh scarcity of petrol.
The queues were also noticeable at filling stations along Ikorodu Road in Lagos.
Also, the Total filling station at the Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way had queues which led to traffic jam around the Ikeja axis.
Our correspondent observed that many of the filling stations along the Ikeja axis, through Obafemi Awolowo Road in Ikeja, were shut.
It was also reported that all the filling stations along Ogunnusi Road, inbound Berger, did not sell petrol to customers.
It was gathered that filling stations owned by the NNPCL along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway did not dispense fuel as of Monday evening.
But while speaking to our correspondent in a chat on Tuesday morning, the NNPCL spokesperson, Olufemi Soneye, dismissed insinuations of fresh fuel scarcity.
Soneye disclosed that NNPCL did not have supply issues, saying its products remained readily available.
He added that the distribution issue in some areas had been resolved.
“We are pleased to confirm that there are no supply issues and our products remain readily available.
“The recent tightness experienced in certain areas was due to a brief distribution issue in Lagos, which has since been resolved,” Soneye told our correspondent.
However, it was observed that the queues still persisted in filling stations as of the time of filing this report on Tuesday evening.
Marketers who spoke with our correspondent said they could not understand why NNPCL had continued to ration fuel to private depot owners if truly there was enough supply.
They said NNPCL remained the only importer of refined petroleum products in Nigeria and all marketers depend on it for supply.
It was gathered that NNPCL Retail had been allocating below what private depot owners paid for. Similarly, the depots also sell to independent marketers based on whatever they get from the NNPCL.
The Chairman, Oil and Gas Association in Ogun State, Surajudeen Bada, asked the national oil company to come out clean and save the situation from deteriorating further.
Bada, who is also an ex-officio member of IPMAN, said he and other marketers had paid for petrol in various depots, but there was not enough supply.
He said a depot that was supposed to load 100 trucks in day was now loading 20 trucks, thereby causing insufficient fuel allocation to marketers.
“NNPCL is in the best position to let us know the truth. It is whatever they dish out that Nigerians depend on. You know independent marketers don’t have depots we can call our own, we always go to wherever the product is available. I can tell you that our members, including myself, we have paid to various depots since, but the supply is not coming as expected.
“That is because a depot that is supposed to load about 100 trucks in a day is now loading only 20 trucks. That is the problem we have. The depots are loading below capacity. Depot owners said it is only the quantity given to them that they can load out, and NNPCL is saying that it has more than enough stock in the system.
“The distributors have all their trucks in Lagos. They are ready to take products, but it is what what you are allocated that will be given to you. It seems NNPCL is not saying it as it is. I am aware that our members have paid heavily into the system and they are ready to take the product, but the product is not available and there is nothing we could do.
“I am afraid the long queues may spread to to other parts of the nation. I hope NNPCL will not just close its eyes,” Bada stated.
On his part, the National Vice President, IPMAN, Hammed Fashola, expressed optimism that the queues would ease off in the next two days when the trucks begin to load out.
“The NNPC assured us that they have enough product, once they sort themselves out, they will start loading by today, tomorrow. I think everything will get normal. That is the information we got from NNPCL,” Fashola said.
He confirmed that IPMAN members were at the receiving end of the current development.
“It really affects us, that is why they are giving us assurance that they will start attending to us and we believe what they said. Let’s wait and see between today and tomorrow, maybe the queues will ease off. It is distribution issue.