Petrol scarcity hits Abuja, others over lockdown fears
• NNPC blames development on fuel tankers
Motorists and other consumers of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also called petrol were yesterday faced with long queues, as most fuel stations were lockdown in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other states of the federation.
Coming amid lockdown of major cities, especially Lagos, Ogun and the FCT, mots fuel station belonging to the major marketers as well as independent marketers were under lock.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Sunday, announced the shutdown of Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Ogun State with a view to containing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Worsened by panic buying, The Guardian observed that residents were stocking petrol products to power their generating sets to cushion the effects of the compulsory lockdown.
One of the consumers, identified as Joy Adejo stated that since the state of the power supply remained epileptic, stocking the products would assist to bridge any gap.
“We have things in the fridge and cannot afford to let them waste. The state of power supply is not guaranteed,” Adejo said.
Though Buhari had exempted services such as medical establishments as well as organisations in health care-related manufacturing and distribution; commercial establishments such as food processing, distribution and retail companies; petroleum distribution and retail entities; power generation, transmission and distribution companies; and private security companies, NNPC spokesperson, Kennie Obateru blamed the current development on actions of tanker drivers.
He told The Guardian that the drivers had expressed fear over possible infection should they continue to work amid the global outbreak of Covid 19.
He however disclosed that the group was currently making efforts to engage the drivers’ association so as to ensure seamless supply of the products across the country.
“This is not about availability of product. Some tankers said they won’t load because they felt they need to protect themselves. But we are trying to engage and create enlightenment that if they take necessary measures they won’t be affected.
Meanwhile the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has said it has no plan of shutting down, as the union assured Nigerians of a continuous distribution of petroleum products by its members for commercial, industrial and domestic uses in spite of coronavirus pandemic.
The union’s National President, Williams Akporeha had said: “We came to the conclusion that the nation needed our essential services in the same manner the nation requires the services of all those in the front line of the fight to curtail the spread of the virus.
There have however been mixed reactions over the level of petrol availability in the country as NNPC and Department of Petroleum Resources presented conflicting figures over the weekend.
While DPR disclosed that Nigeria has only a supply that could last for 24 days from all its 54 depots in Lagos, Eket/Calabar, Kaduna, Warri, Umuahia and Port Harcourt, with Lagos having the largest share of the facilities NNPC said the stock would last over 60 days.
Judging by daily national demand of 38,200,000 litres, DPR had said available depot PMS stock of 935,570,757 litres is sufficient for 24 days.