Fuel queues grew longer in Abuja on Thursday with motorists spending long man-hours in queues to get the product which has intermittently had its supply disrupted since the beginning of this year.
Several filling stations, including the NNPC mega station in zone 1, Conoil and Total, opposite the headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), formed long queues as they patiently waited to purchase petrol.
Black marketers took advantage of the situation, selling petrol to interested motorists for as high as N3,500 for a 10-litre gallon container.
But the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) in an advisory blamed the massive flooding in Lokoja, Kogi state for the disruption in supply.
“The Authority wishes to state that the fuel queues are caused by unprecedented flooding in Lokoja, Kogi State, which has submerged a greater part of the city and grounded all vehicular movements. This unfortunately has affected the distribution of petroleum products to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and environs,” a statement from the agency stated.
As part of measures to mitigate the situation, the NMDPRA said that trucking via alternative routes is currently ongoing, assuring the public that there are sufficient petroleum products inland.
“Consequently, the general public is advised to avoid panic buying at fuel stations as the NMDPRA is working assiduously with relevant stakeholders and government agencies to ensure product availability across the country.
“In the same context, marketers are advised to desist from hoarding the product so as not to inflict hardship on Nigerians. The Authority wishes to reiterate its commitment to Nigerians to ensure seamless supply and distribution of petroleum products nationwide,” it added.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) has said it has sufficient stock of petroleum products, urging the public not give in to panic buying.
“The current queue situation in some parts of Abuja and its environs is as a result of delays in arrival of fuel trucks. This is happening as a result of heavy flooding that has submerged parts of the highway passing through Lokoja, Kogi State and also an incidence of a failed road section around Badegi-Agaie highway in Niger state.
“Consequently, vehicles, especially fuel tankers, are finding alternative roads to get to their intended destinations,” a statement from the NNPC noted.
The national oil firm said it was working assiduously, in collaboration with relevant government agencies, to open up the major highway and ease supply disruption.
“While we do that, we urge the general public to remain calm and not to engage in panic buying of petroleum products.
“The current situation is temporary and has nothing to do with shortage of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) as the NNPC Ltd has a 30-day products’ sufficiency,” the statement added.
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja and Peter Uzoho in Lagos