Long queues are the norm in Nigeria regardless of whose body language is in vogue. Expectedly, the queues returned in full force across the country just days before the Easter festival. There are always queue especially before major celebrations in Nigeria. Artificial city in all respect and one the state has failed to address and seems to be compelling people to adapt to and live with.
Well, it was thought that with the reopening of the two refineries in Port Harcourt and Kaduna, shut since January following the attack at the Escravos pipelines, that temporarily caused supply problems, would eventually lead to disappearance of long queues under the Muhammadu Buhari stewardship. It seems a mirage, or just queues for petrol is inevitable in Nigeria.
For two weeks now the queues have in been lingering and Nigerians everywhere groan because virtually every segment of the society depends on energy to survive. Industries have had to rely more on generating plants to conduct its businesses leading to high cost of doing business in the country.
And yet at the micro front where households need fuel for all sorts of activities queues at filling stations mean hardship of a torturous nature and affects all and sundry more so those who would travel to spend the Easter holiday with the families in villages and other places.
According to Reuters’ report Nigeria’s oil production was decimated in the mid-2000s by militants in the Niger Delta region, who conducted a campaign of damaging and blowing up pipelines and kidnapping workers at oil facilities in protest of what they saw as the unfair distribution of the country’s oil wealth.
At its peak, the militancy cut Nigeria’s oil production to 800,000 barrels per day, less than a third of its maximum capacity of 2.5 million barrels per day. There has been an uptick in attacks in 2016, with Nigerian power minister Babatunde Fashola saying in January that the damage was costing the government $2.4 million per day. The latest spate of attacks started after authorities issued an arrest warrant in January for Government Ekpemupol—known as Tompolo—a prominent ex-Niger Delta militant leader. Tompolo has denied responsibility for the attacks.
In recent months, Nigeria has suffered a fuel shortage and people have had to stand in long queues at gas stations waiting for petrol. The NNPC said on Sunday that it is trying to plug the supply gap by importing the equivalent of 45 million liters of fuel each day, which it started doing on March 1. “We have filled the gap and provided a 30-day buffer arrangement,” said the company. “We once again apologize to Nigerians for the inconveniences as we work assiduously to avoid repeat of this distressing situation.”
The West African country, Africa’s biggest oil producer, has also struggled with the global fall in commodity prices, which have dropped from highs of $115 per barrel for Brent crude oil in summer 2014 to lows of $32 in February 2016. President Buhari has resisted pressure to devalue the Nigerian currency, the naira, but the country has slapped import bans on hundreds of categories of items—from soap to toothpicks—to prevent a collapse in the currency’s value.
Additional report from Reuters