The growing fuel queues in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are worsening even as commuters decry high transport fares around the city.
The situation is exacerbated by a sharp rise in the price of cooking gas.
At AA Rano filling station at Jabi District, which took delivery of stock yesterday afternoon, cooking gas was sold for N764 per kg, an increase of about N30 compared to N736 it was sold at last week.
One of the officials blamed the hike on the longer route now followed by the truckers transporting the product to Abuja.
The official also said the filling station was expecting delivery of PMS which arrived later in the evening.
Ahead of the delivery, there were already long queues of cars around the station as motorists waited for the supply.
The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) had on Thursday said the queues at filling stations in the nation’s capital and its environs were triggered by the flood at Lokoja, Kogi State.
NMDPRA, in a statement, adding that it was collaborating with relevant stakeholders and government agencies to ensure that fuel is available across the country.
Our reporter, who monitored the fuel scarcity in Abuja, observed that it had caused a spike in transport fares in and around the city, drawing lamentation from commuters and motorists alike.
Drivers spent hours at most filling stations while others bought from black marketers between N350 and N500 per litre.
An engineer, Ogunleye Kunle, told Daily Trust that the development would badly affect a lot of people already on the edge following the economic depression in the country.
He said, “The hardship is becoming too much for Nigerians with this sudden scarcity; imagine how fares have skyrocketed on all routes. Most people will not be able to cope with all these, I can assure you.”
Our correspondent, who monitored the development in Abuja, reports that 10 litres of PMS were being sold for as high as N3,500 by roadside hawkers.
Respite for stranded motorists
Our correspondent reports that respite has, however, come the way of stranded motorists and commuters on the Lokoja-Abuja dual carriageway as the blockage at Kotonkarfe axis was removed on Saturday.
With this clearance on the highway, the gridlock at Gegu-Kotonkarfe; Osei-Lokoja and Felele-Lokoja-Kabba junction end of the Okene-Lokoja highway had started to ease.
Daily Trust reports that the flood has started receding at the Kotonkarfe end of the highway, with the bridge being gradually freed of the flood water that had taken it over.
A truck driver, Malam Zubair, who said he spent three days in Lokoja due to the gridlock, told Daily Trust at Felele-Lokoja, that they had started moving since Sunday, shortly after the blockage at Kotonkarfe bridge was cleared.
“Though it is a gradual movement, we are happy that it’s no longer a standstill situation on the highway,” he said.
Filling stations shut in Kano, many not dispensing in Kaduna
In Kano, many fuel stations have been shut down since the weekend as a result of an inadequate supply of fuel, with some lamenting that they did not have fuel.
Some of the few stations that were selling have increased the pump price; while long queues were seen at the ones selling at the normal price.
Daily Trust gathered that some fuel stations were selling at N220; while others were closed mainly to sell to the black markets in the evening.
“I bought fuel yesterday (Sunday) at N220 per litre. Even for that one, I had to go some kilometres away from BUK to get it and I had to join a long queue.
“I don’t know what happened, but I just noticed that the fuel is scarce and the price has increased,” a motorist, Gambo Shuaibu, told our reporter.
Meanwhile, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Forum has said there is enough fuel at the NNPC for distribution to the North, but that bad roads and the flood situation in Lokoja were causing havoc and delayed the drivers, thereby halting the supply of fuel stations in the North.
The chairman of the forum, Alhaji Musa Y. Maikifi, said, “The bad road is the problem now. The situation is that a driver spends three days on only 70 kilometers. So this is what caused all the problems. But we didn’t change our prices and we are selling what we have so far. “
Many filling stations are closed and are not dispensing fuel in Kaduna, Daily Trust observed.
Checks by our correspondent indicated that many stations had run out of stock while the few selling had long queues.
Daily Trust reports that the scarcity started a few days ago, but it got worse on Sunday evening and Monday morning, forcing motorists to spend hours at filling stations.
Our correspondent observed that many fuel stations along Ali Akilu Road, Waff Road and Ahmadu Bello Way were not dispensing.
Some motorists who spoke with our correspondent attributed the long queues for fuel to the public holiday, while others said it was because of the bad condition of the roads.
They, however, decried the resurgence of fuel scarcity which, they said, disrupted their daily schedules.
According to Musa Haruna, “I left home at 8am with the hope that I would be able to get fuel at any station along Ali Akilu Road, but none of the filling stations along that axis was selling.
“I had to queue up at A A Rano filling station in Millennium City, and it took me over four hours in the queue before I was able to get fuel because when I joined, they had not started selling the product.”