The scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, in Abuja and other northern states could persist till after Saturday’s gubernatorial elections in various states, oil marketers said on Tuesday.
Petrol scarcity became severe on Monday in Abuja, Nasarawa, Niger and other states in the North, as thousands of motorists besieged the few filling stations that dispensed the commodity in these areas.
The cost of petrol rose to as high as N400/litre at filling stations operated by independent marketers, while black marketers sold the product for between N450/litre to N500/litre.
Many motorists resorted to accessing the product from black marketers, but most of these dealers lacked the ability to carryout mobile transactions, a development that worsened the sorry state of frustrated fuel seekers.
Members of the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria confirmed that about 90 per cent of their filling stations were shut due to lack of products.
Similarly, the outlets of most major marketers were closed, while the few ones that dispensed petrol were greeted with massive queues of motorists.
The Conoil and Total filing stations right opposite the Abuja headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, for instance, had severe queues on Monday, as they were among the very few outlets that dispensed petrol in the capital city.
The National Vice President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Abubakar Maigandi, told our correspondent that the scarcity of petrol in the Northern part of the country and some other states, would drag till next week.
“Most people thought that there would be crisis, so they stopped their trucks from going to lift products, but since there is no crisis so far, by next week, fuel should be available,” he said.
Maigandi added, “It will clear after the governorship elections in states on Saturday, for when we have elections every time in Nigeria people will develop fear. So that is the challenge.
“When we tell our truck drivers to go to Lagos to lift products, they refuse because they are scared of their lives. So we hope that by next week it will clear, for after the elections, things should return to normal, because there is enough product.
“This is why in areas such as Lagos and neighbouring states, they do not have this challenge we are seeing up North. There are no queues in Lagos and we are hopeful that the queues here should clear by next week.”
Also speaking, the Secretary, IPMAN, Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, said tanker drivers and truck owners became apprehensive during the collation of results from the February 25, 2023 general elections.
“This affected the system and we expect the NNPC to hit the ground running immediately by ensuring that more trucks move down to the North between now and Friday, before the gubernatorial elections on Saturday.
“For when we go into such fuel scarcity situation like this, it takes time before it normalises because of the distance of trucking this product from down South to Abuja and far away North.
“There would not be movement as from Saturday and this will lead to the continuation of fuel scarcity till next week. So the reason for the heavy queues is the general elections and this might continue till the elections are over,” Shuaibu stated.