No solution! Fuel scarcity worsens in Abuja
The queues for Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, persisted on Sunday in Abuja and some states despite the order by the Federal Government to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, to end the scarcity.
The Federal Executive Council, at its meeting last Wednesday, directed the minister to ensure that the fuel scarcity being witnessed across the country did not extend beyond last Saturday.
But right in front of the corporate headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in Abuja were queues of motorists struggling to buy petrol from the two filling stations, Conoil and Total, facing the FMPR and the NNPC.
Our correspondent also observed that many filling stations, particularly those operated by independent petroleum marketers, did not dispense petrol, while the few that sold the PMS had queues.
After the FEC meeting on Wednesday presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the government’s position on the fresh fuel scarcity known to journalists.
He had said, “The council gave him (Kachikwu) a matching order that this fuel scarcity should not last beyond this weekend and they are going to work very hard to ensure that it is curtailed. He (Kachikwu) assured the council that there was actually no cause for alarm.”
The NNPC on several occasions had stated that it had enough petroleum products to keep the country wet for the end-of-year movements and other uses.
Kachikwu announced on Thursday that supply issues prompted the scarcity, but assured Nigerians that the matter would be resolved as soon as possible.
Despite the many assurances from the ministry and the NNPC, the scarcity persisted on Saturday and Sunday in Abuja and neighbouring states as some petrol stations on the Abuja-Keffi road in Nasarawa State sold the PMS for as high as N200 per litre.
However, officials at both the FMPR and the NNPC insisted that the two organisations were working hard to clear the queues.
Meanwhile, two civil-society organisations, the Campaign for Democracy and the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, have called on the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the biting fuel scarcity.
The CD President, Usman Abdul, said, “The government needs to sit and address this problem holistically. What we are seeing as citizens of this country is beyond our imagination. The issue of this scarcity is the handiwork of a few elements in the system who want to benefit from our misery.”
Also, the CACOL Director, Debo Adeniran, said, “This scarcity is more like a self-serving venture for some private marketers. It is unfair. If fuel is available for them to lift and supply is unimpeded, why do we have this scarcity?” Punch