Fuel queues yesterday returned to Lagos.
Large number of motorists, who have been buying fuel with ease for some days, were shocked by the sudden reemergence of the queues.
Few filling stations were selling petrol while many others were shut.
The black market boomed as operators sold in jerry cans at exorbitant prices to desperate motorists.
A 10-litre can went for as high as N5,000 in places like Ikeja, Maryland, Yaba and Mushin.
On Saturday night, none of the about 10 filling stations on the Itire-Mushin road to Yaba was selling when our correspondents visited the areas.
So also were the about six outlets from Mushin to Ojuelegba.
At Jibowu under bridge to Yaba Bus Stop, only Conoil was selling.
There were frequent altercations between those with jerry cans and motorists.
Some hoodlums took the advantage of the situation to make brisk business.
At Fatgbems near Cele bus stop on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, the attendants announced around 7.15 a.m., that they would start selling by 8am. Many on the queue expressed their displeasure over the announcement.
A motorist, Audu Saibu, queried the rationale behind the announcement, asking “are you running a school system? Why wait till 8am when people are already on queue. Many of us have functions to attend.”
Two hoodlums in collaboration with a man said to be a police officer (though not in uniform) were collecting money from motorists before allowing them in.
After over an hour on the queue, Saibu bought fuel at the pump price of N145 per litre, but he claimed to have given the hoodlums and the ‘officer’ N1,400.
None of the filling stations at Ikeja was selling. At the NNPC filling station on Ogunnusi Road, motorists lined up in anticipation that it might sell at night.
In Ikotun, Ikorodu, Epe and Lekki, some independent filling stations sold at between N180 and N200 per litre.
A depot owner, whose facility is in Apapa, told The Nation in confidence that there was no supply from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which is currently the sole importer of petrol.
According to him, there is no depot in Apapa that has its own petrol. Any depot that has petrol is doing throughput for NNPC and can only load trucks authorised by NNPC officials.
This, the source added, has put pressure on demand. Many of the trucks are ready to pay far above the depot price of N133.28 per litre. He said the landing cost per litre of petrol, as at the weekend, was above N171 per litre.
No marketer, he said, wanted to risk importation except he would sell at N180 and above per litre. Most of the depots in the hinterland, outside Lagos and the Southwest, he said, were not operational, adding that the few that are operating do not have products.
Nigerian Independent Petroleum Company (NIPCO) spokesman Alhaji Abiodun Lawal told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the company was loading and supplying to marketers, but the volume had marginally dropped.
“I can confirm we are currently loading but I don’t have the statistics; however I must say that we don’t have enough supply at the moment. I think that explains the resurgence of queues at filling stations,” he said.
Depot and Petroleum Products Marketing Association, (DAPPMA) Executive Secretary Mr Olufemi Adewole said there was shortage of petrol supply across the country.
Adewole said what was playing out was the NNPC’s preference of deploying more supply to major marketers.
“The truth is that there is short supply at the moment, if NNPC can raise supply we will be able to get to inland areas and focus on major cities, but I can tell you there is no much supply from NNPC,’’ he explained.