Motorists around Abuja on Tuesday blamed owners of filling stations for selling petroleum products below capacity, thereby causing artificial scarcity of the white products.
A cross section of them made the complaints while reacting to the current vehicular queues that reappeared at the stations since Tuesday in the FCT.
The motorists, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), expressed displeasure that they had to queue up for products that the government insisted was available.
A NAN survey revealed that the NNPC, Conoil, NIPCO and Texaco on the Airport Road, were dispensing the products below capacity with few pumps.
At the Texaco filling station, a motorist, Saleh Ibrahim, said “we heard there would be an increase in price to N205 and that is why there are queues.
“What is paining me is that this station that used to use all its pumps is now dispensing on both sides of one pump and see the queue’’.
At the Conoil station, which was also dispensing from two pumps, the station manager, who preferred anonymity, said he was expecting products delivery.
However, an angry motorist who overheard the conversation shouted “there is fuel. Why are these trucks here if you don’t have fuel? They are only hoarding the products”.
A NAN Correspondent went to the A. A. Rano filling station on Kubwa expressway, and another angry motorist, Ishola Owolabi, said: “I heard there is enough petrol at the depots so who is to blame for this?
“Until people start taking raps for lapses in duty, we will not get anywhere in this country? If the government is saying there is fuel then why are there queues?
“I know how the industry works, these products are tracked. People should start getting sanctions for not doing their jobs, only then will we start making headway.”
At the Darnana filling station on the airport road, a motorist Collins Osewingie, said he was there early but could not get the product.
“I came to buy petrol at about 11:00 a.m.; there are just two vehicles left in front of me only for the attendants to start locking the gates by 3:40 p.m. that petrol has finished.
“Yet look outside, see vendors selling black market directly in front of the station. This is unfair and callous. I expect that at this stage Nigeria should have overcome all these shenanigans,’’ he said.
The A. Y. M. Shafa, which hitherto was selling for N143 and had a large clientele, had gone back to the N145 ceiling but spotted an even longer queue than usual.
A petrol attendant told NAN anonymously, that “we also heard of the price increase but you can see we are selling from almost all our pumps but the queues are not abating”.
At the Conoil opposite the NNPC towers in the metropolis where the filling station was also under-dispensing, a motorist, Shade Alonge, said it was sad that even in the heart of town, the station could be brazen enough to sell with few pumps.
“There is nothing like panic buying here. If I had fuel, I won’t be here. I don’t remember when I filled my tank last so if I go low on petrol shouldn’t I top up?
“I’m supposed to be at work now. Just imagine the number of wasted manpower on the queues right now.
“People that should be doing something productive are on queues looking for products that the government insists is available,” Alonge said.
The Spokesperson for the Department of Petroleum Resources in Abuja, Mr Saidu Bulama, told NAN the department was not resting on its oars but monitoring to ensure the queues totally disappeared.
“As I’m speaking to you, I have been on the field since morning with the Zonal Controller monitoring the situation.
“I can tell you that the queues are easing up now. If you claim that your pumps have faults we seal that pump and you have to pay a fee before you can re-use it.
“We are ensuring that the products coming out of the depots are being channelled rightly. We have 22,000 litres at the NNPC station on the airport road and we have 13,000 litres of Major Oil in Zuba.
“We have stationed people there and the stations are complying. We only urge motorists to be patient. The queues will disappear very soon,” Bulama said.
A source at the Petroleum Products Pricing Agency said: “I don’t know how that rumour gained grounds. It is a mere rumour. There is no plan to increase any petroleum product.”
The NNPC spokesman, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, had on November 30 and December 7, released statements assuring Nigerians that petroleum product was not scarce.
“There is no plan whatsoever to increase the prices of petroleum products both at the ex-depot level and pump price ahead of the forthcoming yuletide,” Ughamadu said.