While Nigerians are groaning under the pain of having to endure long queues to get fuel, especially Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) those responsible for providing the product are busy trading blames as to who should be held accountable.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers of Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) on Monday laid the blame for the scarcity of fuel in some parts of the country on unavailability of petrol for the marketers to load from the petrol depots.
IPMAN Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Dankigari, said private depots owners have been selling petrol at a price higher than the official N77 per litre to marketers, lamenting that the depots have all gone dry.
He blamed the situation on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which he said is responsible for the importation of 78 per cent of the product to the country.
On his part, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, says there have been repeated complaints by marketers of sharp practices at the depots, and warned that any depot owner selling petrol above the approved ex-depot price of N77 per litre, would be dealt with.
NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ohi Alegbe quoted the minister as warning that depot owners found to be involved in selling products above the approved ex-depot prices would be severely sanctioned.
But Dankigari said: “The issue is that even where we are loading, there is no product. We already have more than 8,000 tickets but we have not been able to load.
“Even the private depots that used to sell the products at a higher rate no longer have the product to sell. So, that is the reason why you have been seeing those queues. The NNPC is only agency of government responsible for bringing the products into the country.”
Over the last few days, fuel queues have resurfaced in some parts of the country, especially around Lagos, Abuja and its environs, with most filling stations closed for business due to non-availability of products.
Alegbe hoever assured of sufficient supply of petrol as it took delivery of four more cargoes of the product at the weekend to keep the country wet. He said the deliveries which amount to about 180 million litres is part of a new arrangement by the corporation to have a cargo of PMS delivered daily as from March.