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.
The realities of fuel scarcity have also led to anxiety and confusion in major locations in the nation’s commercial capital, Lagos, especially on the Island axis.
Guardian reported that the panic began gradually over the weekend when unusual long queues of vehicles at various filling stations in Ikoyi, Victoria Island, and Lekki were noticed as residents spent longer periods trying to buy the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol.
While this was attributed to increased demand for fuel due to power outage following a fire incident that led to the shutdown of Nigeria’s largest power plant, Egbin, from the national grid, last week, the long queues persisted yesterday morning despite improved power supply. There were long queues on Awolowo road in Ikoyi, which caused gridlock along the axis.
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 supplied 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.