A dispute arose on Thursday between oil marketers and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited regarding the distribution of Premium Motor Spirit, commonly known as petrol, as queues at gas stations worsened for motorists seeking the commodity.
According to the dealers, the prolonged queues for petrol in various parts of the country may persist as many independent oil marketers have been unable to access PMS for over a month. However, the NNPC countered this, asserting that the company possessed a 30-day PMS sufficiency, although acknowledging the fuel queues in Nigeria.
Several filling stations, especially those run by independent marketers, were closed in Abuja and neighboring Nasarawa and Niger states due to the lack of products to dispense. The limited outlets that dispensed products were met with long queues. For instance, the Conoil filling station in front of the Abuja headquarters of the NNPC witnessed queues on Thursday.
Similar scenes unfolded in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and other locations, as confirmed by marketers and motorists in these areas.
On Thursday, members of the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) expressed that they had faced difficulties accessing petrol from the NNPC for more than a month. IPMAN oversees over 70 percent of retail stations nationwide that dispense PMS.
They also disclosed that independent marketers had resorted to major tank farm owners for products, noting that the ex-depot price at these tank farms had increased from about N578/liter to N605/liter.
Chief Chinedu Ukadike, the National Public Relations Officer of IPMAN, stated that many depots were running dry and emphasized the need for Nigeria’s refineries to be fixed to fully deregulate the downstream oil sector.
Amidst the scarcity, a dealer with the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria revealed that marketers had ceased importing petrol, contributing to the ongoing scarcity across the country. The dealer also mentioned that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Retail Limited acknowledged the fuel queues, assuring the public that the root cause had been addressed and that there was sufficient supply for at least 30 days. They urged motorists to refrain from panic buying as distribution was expected to normalize in the coming days.