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Upon NNPC claims of excess reserves, fuel scarcity surfaces in Lagos, others

Ahead of Monday, December 11, given by the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IMPAN), as resumption date for shut down of members petrol stations in Lagos and parts of Ogun State, serial fuel scarcity is being experienced in parts of Lagos since this week.

This is coming even as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), was quick to diffuse the fears, saying there is enough products to serve the region.

Trouble had started at Ejigbo loading station where IPMAN member alleged last week that NNPC is shortchanging member by loading higher than the official depot price, but the Corporation rushed and denied the claims with an assurance that there will be supply hiccups.

However, what is playing out in parts of Lagos even ahead of the main date of shutdown remains a dangerous signal as yuletide approaches.

IPMAN had said last week that its members in Lagos and parts of Ogun State might be forced to shut their filling stations by December 11 if the situation persisted.

A source, who is an executive of a Lagos-based oil marketing company, told our correspondent, “This is the second week in which supply has not been very robust.

“The rationing started the previous week. The NNPC has been the major supplier and there have been distribution dislocations since the Apapa jetty got burnt, making it difficult for major oil marketers to get products; they have to be doing throughput with other companies, because they can’t receive products through that line until the repair is completed.”

Noting that demand for petrol had increased due to the approaching Yuletide, he said depot prices had gone up.

“So many depots are selling above the recommended price of N133 per litre; it is averaging between N140 and N142.5. When you know you have 10 million litres and you know people make payment of about 20 million litres on a daily basis, automatically you will begin to ration and in the process of rationing, there will be so many hidden charges,” the official stated.

The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, while reacting to the allegation by IPMAN last Thursday at the inauguration of the NNPC mega station in Sagamu, had noted that the corporation was importing about 100 per cent of the petroleum products in the country, saying there were sufficient products.

Baru said, “We distribute at the ex-depot price of N133 per litre; so there is no reason why anybody should sell above N145 per litre. So if some people are playing around, I will leave it for the relevant regulatory authorities, the DPR and the PPPRA to take care of. As for IPMAN, I want to advise that this is not the route to go.

“They know what it means to go on strike; to deprive people of products will be the saddest thing that will happen because I have sufficient products and I am selling within the PPPRA price template.”

Since the resurfacing of the long queues, the NNPC has maintained sealed lips, contrary to its earlier claims of products abundance.