The ongoing fuel scarcity that has affected some states across Nigeria for weeks is as a result of diversion of petrol meant for distribution in the country by some marketers, who take advantage of the subsidized products to rake in arbitrary profiting, a source in the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited told LEADERSHIP yesterday.
The source also blamed the scarcity on the issue of logistics, in terms of haulage, transportation and handling.
The source claimed that some unscrupulous marketers, who out of quest for making profit, have been diverting trucks loaded with petrol meant for Lagos, Abuja and motorists in other states, to other places, taking advantage of subsidy arrangement on petrol, by the government.
It was learnt that the saboteurs are cashing out on the menace by buying at subsidised amount but sell at outrageous amount thereby making money from the problem while motorists suffer scarcity of the products.
“The NNPC has sufficient products. We have the petroleum motor spirit (PMS) stock of over 2 billion litres on Nigerian waters and 600 million litres on land which is equivalent to 10 days of sufficiency. Logistics and activities of saboteurs, who are making life difficult for everybody, are the cause of the scarcity.
‘‘NNPC is spending a lot of resources in bringing refined petrol to the country. We sell crude oil, get foreign currencies, and buy petrol at international price but sell at a controlled price. We subsidise for everybody. If NNPC stops importing petrol today, the country will grind to a halt.
‘‘I can’t tell the government to stop subsidy but if it can be removed, everything will normalize. NNPC is under appreciated and unfairly treated in this country.’’
Meanwhile, in major cities across the nation, petrol stations were closed, while others were besieged by motorcyclists, tricycle owners, as well as private and commercial drivers. In Lagos, Ogun, Abuja among others residents said fuel stations sold petrol for N250.
Petrol marketers had projected that the price of petrol could hit N400 per litre at most filling stations before the end of 2022 while petrol dealers said if the scarcity of the product persists, it could continue to rise as the price is already N450 per litre on the black market.
However, the NNPC Limited said it has programmed vessels and trucks to unconstrained depots, with massive load outs from depots to various states being closely monitored.