Despite efforts made so far by the Federal Government to end the persistent fuel scarcity which has grounded economic and social activities across the country, the situation has refused to ebb. The result is that many Nigerians are beginning to wonder if the present administration has the magic wand to the issue or if there are other factors orchestrating the scarcity.
Indeed, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, and Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC has on several occasions assured Nigerians that solution had been found gave specific dates when normalcy would return. But Nigerians had at each time, had their hopes dashed. Rather than abate, the queues become longer.
Currently, cost of fuel in states across federation ranges from N200 to N300 per litre, with the exception of Lagos and Federal Capital Territory, FCT. This is despite official price of N86.50k approved by the government.
The situation has prompted many people to begin to ask questions on the immediate and remote causes of the problem in order to proffer the right solutions.
Determined to get to the root of the problem, Nigerian Pilot investigations found out two main reasons.
First, is the fact that the refusal of the federal government to allow ‘business as usual’ on the part of private sector participation in the importation and distribution of this essential commodity has contributed to the crises.
For instance, before now, the NNPC used to import fuel along side with private sector dealers but currently, the Corporation imports 100 percent the fuel needs of the country. Most of the oil marketers have withdrawn from importing fuel because of government’s unwillingness to fund the huge cost of subsidy as before .
Apart from that, it was also been discovered that many marketers resort to creating artificial scarcity by hoarding products allocated to them by the NNPC.
Recently, an enforcement team from the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, led by the Director ,Mr. Mordecai Ladan while monitoring sale of the product on the Zuba-Kaduna expressway was shocked to discover that the petrol stations on Kaduna Road, Gaoraka -Suleja in Niger State had diverted about 100, 000 liters of the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) they loaded from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) depots to other unknown locations.
Ladan’s team stormed the Zen Hajad Limited (ZHL) Petrol station, and discovered that although the manifest showed that the company lifted 60,000 litres from the NNPC Depot, it never delivered it to the station.
When the team advanced to one of the NNPC affiliate stations located between Conoil and Kubwa, the station quickly switched off the generator it was using to sell fuel with only one pump.
It was discovered that the station that lifted 40,000 liters on Tuesday was hoarding fuel.
After investigating from the underground tanks, DPR discovered that the station had about 5,200 liters which it hoarded underground and the rest must have been diverted because the motorists said that the station hardly sold fuel.
The DPR therefore, ordered that the products should be dispensed free of charge to the queues of vehicles that lined up the station.
The above scenarios are just few of many similar cases of marketers diversion of products and by doing so sabotaging government efforts to ameliorate the suffering of the masses. In various states the situation has been made worse by activities of the marketers.
However, hopes are given that the continuous fuel scarcity that has paralyzed economic activities in the country would end in a few days from now, based on the assurance by Kachikwu that the scarcity would this week, after similar promises failed trice.
“As at today we have delivered about 1,200 trucks, by weekend we should be delivering same number of trucks,” Kachikwu said last week while insisting that the scarcity was occasioned by sabotage from the independent oil marketers whom he accused of “trying to make quick returns on their investments wrongly”.
In the corporation’s Premium Motor
Spirit (PMS) daily nationwide supply schedule released in Abuja last week , the NNPC’s import and shuttle vessels had been programmed to do Ship-to-Ship (STS) Operation for onward discharge to Inland Depots.
According to the statement, Abuja got 141 trucks (4,653,000 litres) allocation, while Kano was given 23 trucks of 759,000 litres and Lagos 467 trucks (15,411,000 litres) of the PMS. The breakdown of the sharing showed that Rivers state had 29 trucks (957,000 litres); Kaduna, 36 trucks (1,188,000 litres), as Ebonyi got four trucks of 132,000 litres. In the same vein, Ondo state was given 15 trucks of 495,000 litres allocation; Cross River got 16 trucks (528,000); Plateau nine trucks of 297,000 litres and Sokoto, eight trucks, representing 246,000 litres of the product while Borno state got seven trucks of 231,000 litres.
The corporation, while appealing to motorists not to engage in panic buying, insisted it had enough of the product to go round the country. For now however, the country awaits the fulfillment of Kachikwu’s pledge even as many motorists doubt the possibility given as reasons, what they called “previous disappointing statements from the minister’.

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