Fuel Scarcity has taken the number one spot on trending topics on Nigerian Twitter space, following the return of long queues amid panic buying in some areas in the country.
A shortage of fuel has also created confusion and anxiety in the nation’s commercial capital, Lagos, particularly on the Island axis.
The Guardian reports that the panic started gradually over the weekend when residents spent a long time trying to buy Premium Motor Spirit (PMS, also known as petrol) at various filling stations in Ikoyi, Victoria Island, and Lekki.
Although the long queues were attributed to increased demand for fuel following a fire that shut down Nigeria’s largest power plant, Egbin, from the national grid, last week, the long lines persisted yesterday morning despite improved power supply. As a result of gridlock along the axis of Awolowo road in Ikoyi, there were long queues.
Most of the fuel stations visited in the metropolis claimed they were without supply. The few stations that had supply attracted long queues. From Ojodu-Berger to Lekki, Gbagada, Alapere, Oshodi-Apapa axis, Ajah, Sangotedo, Mile-2, among others, long queues were sighted in filling stations, which in some stations spiraled into the major roads.
Many commuters along the Lekki-Epe Expressway, including Sangotedo and Victoria Garden City (VGC) axis had a hectic time in traffic. On the Island (Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Obalende axis), only a few stations had supply with manageable queues. It was the same situation along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Some commuters resorted to trekking long distances to get to their destinations, while commercial transporters took advantage of the situation to hike transport fares on busy routes. The fare from Ajah to CMS, which, ordinarily, was N400, was hiked to N1,000.
Though the NNPC has always allayed fears of any hitch in the supply of petroleum products, assuring of its availability.
Despite reported cases of scarcity in some parts of the country, the entire country may be plunged into another round of terrifying fuel scarcity if the Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) goes on with its threat of withdrawing haulage service should the Federal Government fail to urgently address the rising cost of operation that its members are facing.
The association’s National President, Yusuf Lawal Othman, in a statement on Monday February 7, said that his members now find it difficult to remain afloat because of the high freight rate, which is regulated and paid in arrears.
A source who spoke to Vanguard, claimed that the hardship Nigerians are suffering over fuel scarcity is a result of lack of petroleum product at the depots, but refused to dismiss speculations that fuel subsidy removal was connected with the current scarcity.