Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited and oil marketers have been given two days to end the current fuel scarcity across the country.
The Department of State Services (DSS) had issued the directive on Thursday, with the spokesman for the DSS, Peter Afunanya, describing the fuel scarcity as artificial.
After a meeting with stakeholders in the petrol supply chain, Afunanya said the security agency will clamp down on persons aiding the artificial fuel scarcity.
In the last one month, queues have resurfaced in filling stations amid scarcity that has compelled some retailers to shut down operations and forced Nigerians to turn to the black market.
As a result of demands overshooting supply, the price of a litre of fuel has risen to between N250 and N275 per litre in retail stations, and selling between N300 and N400 in the black market.
NNPC, oil marketers disagree over the reason for fuel scarcity
The NNPC had stated that fuel became scarce in filling stations across Nigeria due to the ongoing road reconstruction around the country’s port in Apapa, Lagos.
According to the NNPC, the road project has prevented the distribution of fuel to depots and filling stations in Lagos and other states, creating panic buying.
A week ago, the government-backed company said, “The recent queues in Lagos are largely due to ongoing road infrastructure projects around Apapa and access road challenges in some parts of Lagos depots.
“The gridlock is easing out and NNPC has programmed vessels and trucks to unconstrained depots and massive load outs from depots to various states are closely being monitored.
“Abuja is impacted by the challenges recorded in Lagos. NNPC retail and key marketers have intensified dedicated loading into Abuja to restore normalcy as souon as possible.”
However, the former Chairman of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Tunji Oyebanji, disagreed with NNPC, disclosing that the fuel the industry regulator claimed is at the port and being blocked from distribution is still on high sea.
Oyebanji told Punch that, “The issue is that the quantity of fuel available is one thing, the other thing is that where is the fuel?
“If you have fuel but it is on the high sea, and not in the tanks in the depots and petrol stations, then, you have a problem.
“The issue is not the quantity available offshore, but what is really available in everybody’s tank and petrol stations.
“So, we are working hard on the logistics to make it easier and quicker to make products get into our depots and stations, and by extension, they get delivered to the petrol stations. So, it is not about the figures or stock available.”