The scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), petrol, currently ravaging the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja has partially shut down movements and economic activities in the city.
DAILY POST had reported that commuters and car owners were on Monday stranded in the city as fuel scarcity imposed further hardship on residents.
It was also reported that the few stations selling were dispensing above the normal pump price as metres were adjusted to N165 as against N160 or N163 being the case earlier.
Further checks by DAILY POST correspondent who monitored the market situation in some parts of the city on Tuesday, showed that the situation got worse as stations previously dispensing locked out customers.
The fuel crisis created tension in some parts of the city as many shops and factories started shutting down due to lack of fuel and the current epileptic power supply. They are now unable to run their businesses.
An attendant in one of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, station along the Airport road Lugbe, told DAILY POST correspondent that the station was out of stock since Monday evening.
“People think we just refused to dispense fuel for them, how can we do that? The truth is that we don’t have fuel right now.
“When they supply us fuel, we will definitely sell to customers. We also want to make money”, she said.
A customer, Mr Ayodeji, who appeared frustrated at the station, said he visited no fewer than five commercial stations before landing at the NNPC.
“I came here after I have gone to many other stations on my way back from work thinking here would be my last bus stop.
“I have exhausted the little one I had in my tank, still I can’t get the product to get my car filled,” he lamented.
One of the officials at the NNPC in Bwari area who preferred not to be mentioned in print for the fear of victimization, said the situation was due to industrial action by tanker drivers.
According to him, “the tankers drivers have been on strike for the past few days now but it was announced this morning that they have suspended the industrial action.
“We were selling earlier today when our pump 1 and 2 were still dispensing but currently, we have no fuel in stock”.
When asked if normalcy is expected to return this week, he expressed hope that the station would be dispensing soon.
“Our tanker driver is currently on his way with enough products as I’m talking to you. The last time we spoke, he said he was at Dei Dei”, he added.
A customer at the filling stating who identified himself as Oseni, said he was bewildered by the ravaging situations.
According to him, he had no choice but to patronize the roadside sellers along Dutse Bridge while on his way to work on Tuesday morning.
“On my way to work this morning, I bought four litters of fuel at the rate of N3,000 under the Kubwa/Dutse bridge from black market traders.
“I had no choice, I had to buy because I needed it. This is quite embarrassing, I don’t know what to do right now.
“The country is becoming so bad for us. The Federal Government had said they have no plan to increase the pump price of fuel even till May.
“I wonder where this one is coming from. How I will manage to go to work tomorrow is my major concern right now”.
Another source who spoke with our correspondent in the area, stated that even if fuel is supplied to stations on Tuesday night, the crisis may persist beyond Wednesday due to panic buying.
A black market trader in Gwarinpa who declined revealing her identity, was on Tuesday evening selling the petroleum product to customers at the rate of N400 per litter.
According to her, “we usually pay them at the filling stations to reserve some fuel for us, so you don’t expect me to sell at the normal price.
“Although, we are making good profit currently but as you know, it won’t last. The scarcity may end tomorrow and everything will return to normal.
Reacting, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari, on Tuesday assured that the situation would return to normal in a very short time.
Kyari who gave the assurance while speaking with State House correspondents shortly after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on the fuel crisis, revealed that the sudden re-emergence of the fuel queue was due to strike action embarked upon by the Association of Petrol Tankers Drivers.
He noted that the strike action was suspended on Tuesday morning, adding that the scarcity would be over in a few hours.
“These queues will go away. It’s because there was industrial action by petroleum tanker drivers against their employers, the National Association of Road Transport Owners, around their compensation package.
“As I speak to you at the moment, loading has commenced in all depots in the country, dispatch of trucks are ongoing in all the depots in the country and they have called off the strike for a period of one week to enable us intervene and find a solution”, he said.