Fuel Queues Hit Lagos, Ogun and others as Thieves Vandalise Pipelines
Long queues for Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, are beginning to resurface at filling stations in Lagos and Ogun states, and in few other locations in South-Western states.
Queues were sighted at many stations, particularly those on the Oshodi-Ojodu Berger Expressway and some sections of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, as vehicles that waited to purchase petrol stretched into the expressway, slowing down movement on the service lane.
The Chairman, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Satellite Depot, explained that the depot had not loaded products in the last three weeks.
According to him, even the NNPCL Retail depot is currently operating skeletal dispatching of products.
“From our end, the issue has been with the pipeline vandalism which we raised an alarm over since July. Satellite depot has not loaded any product in the last three weeks, and whenever there is a problem here, it is going to affect Lagos and the whole of South-West.
“Although I don’t know what has been happening in other depots, from what we gathered yesterday, even NNPC Retail has been operating skeletal product dispatching. The NNPC Retail loaded just three to four trucks to Ikoyi on Monday. No product was dispatched to other places. I don’t know about other depots,” he said.
The NNPCL Retail has 21 depots across the country, nine in the North, and 12 in the South. However, The PUNCH had reported in December how the company abandoned the depots due to pipeline vandalism, and now relied on private depots to dispatch products.
Recently, NNPCL had been making efforts to put the pipelines in order. One of those efforts was the Satellite depots in Lagos which resumed operations last year, but was again vandalised in July.
Managers of the Ejigbo Satellite Depot had raised the alarm over incessant activities of pipeline vandals on System 2B pipeline in front of Good Luck Estate at Idimu, Alimosho Local Council Development Area of Lagos.
A statement released by Akinrinade at that time, said, “IPMAN Satellite Depot are constrained with heavy heart to announce the vandalism of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited pipeline at Idimu in Alimosho LCDA of Lagos State, in front of Good Luck Estate.
“This continuous vandalism is a setback to the effort of IPMAN and NNPCL to ensure uninterrupted supply of petrol to Lagos and the entire South-West region of Nigeria.”
The PUNCH also gathered that some depots owners had been unable to import products due to rising foreign exchange.
Sources close to the matter told The PUNCH that many filling stations had shut down operations as many could not afford to buy products due to high prices at the depots.
“Stations are now cutting down costs because most don’t have enough money to buy products to distribute to their outlets. That is why you see that those with more than one station had to close down some of them,” one of the sources told The PUNCH.
Another source who craved anonymity told The PUNCH that “the economy is tough right now and marketers have been unable to import products. Emadeb had teamed up with some other marketers and brought in about 27 million litres.
“But since then, who else did you hear has brought in the product? We are now back to the era of NNPCL being the sole importer, and would still continue to dictate what the market price would be.”
A top member of the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria told one of our correspondents that demand now outweighs supply.
“NNPCL has reduced importation. And the whole idea was for private individuals to also augment what NNPCL brings in. But marketers are not importing. So NNPCL still remains the only importer,” he said.