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NNPC allays fears as fuel scarcity surfaces in Abuja, others

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Marketers claim destruction of 10 tankers by hoodlums

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has cautioned the citizenry against panic buying of petroleum products.The warning followed palpable fears in Abuja and its environs on account of resurgence of queues, yesterday, at filling stations in the Nigerian capital city.

The Guardian gathered that over 90 per cent of dispensing facilities had been shut in the FCT and other states. But the corporation’s spokesperson, Kennie Obateru, said there was no cause for alarm, adding that there was product sufficiency.

His words: “NNPC has over two billion litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in stock to guarantee steady supply, and at least 60 -day-product supply sufficiency.”

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He also linked the development to ongoing protests and curfews in parts of the federation. Obateru added: “With the easing of the curfews and restriction of movement by various state governors, normalcy is expected to return to the petroleum products supply chain in the next couple of days.”

A tour of Abuja showed that a lot of petrol outlets were shut, including some NNPC retail stations. Most of the facilities visited yesterday had been closed since Monday evening.

At the close of work on Monday, no fuel station was selling to motorists along Kubwa and Airport Road, except Shema at the Katempe area of the city.

In Maitama, only FO opened shop. It was also selling in the Jabi area of the FCT. Oando, Total, A.Y Ashafa, A.A. Rano and most of the leading marketers withheld services.

Expectedly, the development has generated traffic snarls in locations where the commodity is being dispensed, as well as raised racketeers who offer a litre for N250 as against the N160 official pump price.

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It was observed that those marketers, who were originally selling at N158, immediately adjusted their meters to N160. Reacting, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) said prevailing insecurity, especially the #EndSARS protests, had disrupted supplies and inflicted losses on its members.

Its vice president, Abubakar Shettima, added that most trucks had been abandoned in depots across Lagos.The association said the scenario could last for two weeks, noting that marketers’ losses were being estimated.

It had last week warned of a looming shortage, stating that there were attacks on fuel tankers by hoodlums. IPMAN chairman for Rivers State, Dr. Joseph Obele, had said 10 tankers belonging to its members were destroyed across the federation.

Also speaking, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) stated that there was no reason for the paucity, insisting that the nation was product-sufficient.

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A source in the organisation also blamed the situation on the youth demonstrations that forced some dealers to shut operations. Like the NNPC official, he equally cautioned against purchases borne out of anxiety.

Nigeria consumes some 50 million litres of petrol daily. Mainly imported from Europe to Lagos seaports in the absence of pipelines, the product is thereafter transported by trucks across the length and breadth of the country.

Logistic challenges, comprising bad roads, have perennially affected distribution, as some of these heavy duty vehicles tarry as much as three days or more on the highway before getting to their destinations.

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