…Lagos still battling with product shortfall
From Uche Usim, Abuja, Adewale Sanyaolu, Lagos and Judex Okoro, Calabar
Nigerians may have to prepare for a long period of horrifying petrol scarcity as the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association (DAPPMA) (fuel depot owners) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) are currently bickering over a N21.7 billion debt and who should be blamed for the persisting crisis hurting Nigerians.
While the depot owners insist they do not have any petroleum products in their facilities supplied by the NNPC, the national oil company on its part said DAPPMA was being economical with the truth as current records show appreciable supplies and that the association is indebted to it to tune of N26.7billion as at December 21.
The disagreement erupted on December 25, when DAPPMA through its Executive Secretary, Olufemi Adewole, accused the NNPC of starving its members’ facilities of products nationwide despite the fact that the Corporation lacks the capacity to solely import and distribute fuel efficiently as marketers own 80 per cent of the functional receptive facilities and retail outlets in the country.
The Association went ahead to refute claims that its members were responsible for hoarding and sabotaging government’s efforts in solving the scarcity nightmare when in actual sense their facilities were totally empty.
Reacting to DAPPMA’s claims, the NNPC via its Spokesman, Ndu Ughamadu said it was unfortunate that depot owners had the temerity to peddle such falsehood when the Corporation had continually flooded their tanks with sufficient products, especially petrol, in its efforts to solve the scarcity challenge.
“NNPC wishes to affirm that it has supplied appreciable volume to DAPPMA, Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria (IPMAN) to rid the challenges currently being experienced in the supply and distribution of petroleum products in the country.
“NNPC regrets that DAPPMA which members had taken receipts of products from Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of NNPC and owe the company to the tune of N26.7billion as at December 21, 2017, has the audacity to indict NNPC unjustifiably.
As workers resumed yesterday, in Lagos being the first working day of the week, fuel queues again reared its ugly head as the traffic situation was further compounded by the activities of filling station dispensing fuel.
Though, some of the filling stations selling fuel adhered strictly to the approved retail price of N145 per litre, especially those operated by major marketers.
NIPCO filling station on Ipaja ensured that sale to motorists remained at the control price of N145 while the management barred the sale of fuel into jerrycans, a situation which resulted into orderliness among motorists.
On the Ikeja along axis, the Conoil filling station on the corridor was dispensing fuel as at at 5.30pm, though there activities contributed largely to the traffic situation on the expressway. But same could not be said of the Forte Oil close to the local Airport, Petroleum Managers and Emadeb Energy, both on the Apapa- Oshodi Expressway as the two stations were shut down.
Meanwhile, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Cross River has shut down two filling stations for selling petrol above pump price of N145 per litre
Controller of DPR in Cross River, Mr Bassey Nkanga, who shut down the filling stations while monitoring sales yesterday in Calabar, said the stations violated government directives.
Stations shut included `Uddy King’ and Uko-Ma for was shut down for selling at N190 and N205 per litre respectively as against the approved pump price of N145.
Nkanga said it was wrong for oil marketers to increase the pump price when the federal government has not done so.
But even as DPR closed some stations, investigations revealed that in Calabar South some filling stations were still selling at between N230 and N250 per litre.
When Daily Sun visited some of the filling stations including the ones located at Atu Street, Mayne Avenue, Anantgha and Etta Agbor there dispensing fuel above government pump price.
One of the fuel attendants at Ette Agbor, who simply gave her name as Imaobong, said: “My Oga told us he bought above pump price at depot because there is no product. So why should we sell at N145 per litre. We are not in business to incurre loss but to make profit.
“Tell DPR to make fuel available so we can buy and sell at government price. Else we would continue to sell at N250 or we close down. “
In Abuja, unscrupulous oil marketers who hitherto ran nocturnal operations to profiteer have commenced daytime sales in order to avoid the Federal Government’s hammer.
This follows the sealing of a private filling station, Khalif Civic Oil and Investment Limited, in Kubwa, a satellite town in Abuja, by officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for selling petrol at N250/litre instead of the approved pump price of N145/litre.
Aside shutting the station, the officials also gave out the product free to motorists.
Consequently, the development appears to have frightened other hoarders who shut their premises during the day in the pretext of running out of stock.
Between Kubwa and Wuse, about nine filling stations belonging to some independent oil marketers that have never sold petrol since scarcity began about three weeks surprisingly dispensed fuel yesterday though with long queues.
Motorists who spoke with Daily Sun hailed the clampdown on the hoarders, describing as a right step in the right direction.