Fuel Queues: APC Lacks ‘Political Will’ To Solve Subsidy Issues – PDP

Fuel queues surfaced in Lagos on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.
Fuel queues surfaced in Lagos on Tuesday, February 8, 2022.

 

The Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday said President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress lack the political will to solve the “perennial” issues of fuel subsidy.

“The resurgence of long fuel queues in our filling stations in major cities across the country further explains the lack of political will by the President Muhammadu Buhari  led All Progressives Congress administration in solving the perennial subsidy issues,” a note on the PDP’s verified social media accounts said.

“Nigeria is better with PDP.”

Fuel queues, which has rocked the Federal Capital Territory intermittently in the past few weeks, resurfaced in Lagos on Sunday.

Oil marketers had complained of the price of petrol compared to how much it took to deliver it to the final consumer.

 

However, the Federal Government has insisted that the pump price of petrol should remain at N165.

On Wednesday, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) said it has resolved to maintain the status quo ante, even as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Pipeline and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) responded positively to the association’s request by releasing products from their tank farms that can last 32 days.’

The sight of long fuel queues has since abated in parts of Lagos.

‘Why remove subsidy?’

Nigeria has subsidised petrol since the early years of the 2000s.

Although the country is one of the largest producers of crude oil, the bulk of petrol consumed in the country is imported due to the paucity of local refining capacity.

Experts have long called for petrol subsidy removal, saying it diverts much needed resources that could have been invested in infrastructure, education, health and other development sectors.

READ ALSO: Buhari Asks US, UK, Others To Ban IPOB

The Buhari administration had planned to remove subsidies in June this year but the move was halted after consultations with stakeholders such as the Nigeria Labour Congress.

Many Nigerians believe fuel subsidy is one of the few benefits that gets directly to citizens but the scheme has also been rocked by fraudulent activities.

On Tuesday, in a written note, to Bloomberg, President Buhari defended his administration’s decision to continue to subsidise petrol.

He said the government is working on boosting local capacity in order to stem the inflationary pressures that are likely to be triggered by a removal of subsidies.

“Most western countries are today implementing fuel subsidies. Why would we remove ours now?” What is good for the goose is good for the gander!” The President said.

“What our western allies are learning the hard way is what looks good on paper and the human consequences are two different things.

“My government set in motion plans to remove the subsidy late last year. After further consultation with stakeholders, and as events unfolded this year, such a move became increasingly untenable.

“Boosting internal production for refined products shall also help. Capacity is due to step up markedly later this year and next, as private players and modular refineries (Dangote Refinery, BUA Group Refinery, Waltersmith Refinery) come on board.

“The exchange rate is still susceptible to external shocks that can suddenly and severely affect Nigerian citizens. As we step up domestic production – both in fuel (enabled by PIA) and food (agricultural policies) – the inflationary threat shall diminish, and we can move toward unification.”

NNPC GMD Reveals How ‘Adulterated Fuel’ Was Imported And The Importers

 

The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari, on Wednesday, explained how ‘adulterated’ Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) from Belgium got into the country undetected and the companies that brought it in.

Mr Kyari spoke about the problem which had led to PMS shortage and the emergence of queues in Abuja, Lagos, and several other states, at a late-night briefing in the nation’s capital.

The PMS, he said, had been imported into the country by four importers from Antwerp in Belgium with quality inspectors failing to detect the high level of Methanol it contained, first at the point of import in Belgium and at the point of. arrival in Nigeria.

“It is important to note that the usual quality inspection protocol employed in both the load port in Belgium and our discharge ports in Nigeria do not include the test for Percent methanol content and therefore the additive was not detected by our quality inspectors,” Mr Kyari told journalists at the briefing.

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The NNPC boss did not give the date of import but disclosed that the NNPC found out about the situation late in January.

“On 20th January 2022, NNPC received a report from our quality inspector on the presence of emulsion particles in PMS cargoes shipped to Nigeria from Antwerp-Belgium,” he said.

“NNPC investigation revealed the presence of Methanol in Four (4) PMS cargoes.”

He listed the companies as MRS, Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium, Oando, and Duke Oil.

MRS used the vessel, MT Bow Pioneer; Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium imported the product via the vessel MT Tom Hilde; Oando used the vessel MT Elka Apollon, while Duke Oil imported its PMS using MT Nord Gainer.

The NNPC GMD explained that the fact that the PMS contained Methanol was not detected by checks because the quality checks do not include checks for Methanol percentage.

He said, “Cargoes quality certificates issued at load port (Antwerp-Belgium) by AmSpec Belgium indicate that the gasoline complied with Nigerian Specification.

“The NNPC quality inspectors including GMO, SGS, GeoChem and G&G conducted tests before discharge also showed that the gasoline met Nigerian specification.

“As a standard practice for all PMS import to Nigeria, the cargoes were equally certified by inspection agent appointed by the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority has met Nigerian specification.

“It is important to note that the usual quality inspection protocol employed in both the load port in Belgium and our discharge ports in Nigeria do not include the test for Percent methanol content and therefore the additive was not detected by our quality inspectors.”

He assured Nigerians that the NNPC was sourcing additional cargoes to meet PMS demands and that “to prevent the distribution of the petrol, we have ordered the quarantine of all un-evacuated volumes and the holding back of all the affected products in transit (both truck & marine)”.

As for the suppliers of the affected products, the NNPC boss said they had been “put on notice for remedial actions and NNPC will work with the authority to take further necessary actions in line with subsisting regulations”.

Read the full text of his briefing below:

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for joining us at this press conference.

1. We wish to update our customers and the public on the ongoing efforts by NNPC and other stakeholders to resolve the issues generated by the unfortunate supply and discharge of methanol blended gasoline (PMS) in some Nigerian depots.

2. On 20th January 2022, NNPC received a report from our quality inspector on the presence of emulsion particles in PMS cargoes shipped to Nigeria from Antwerp-Belgium.

3. NNPC investigation revealed the presence of Methanol in Four (4) PMS cargoes imported by the following DSDP suppliers namely:

Importer Vessel Name Load Port
1 MRS MT Bow Pioneer LITASCO Terminal, Antwerp-Belgium
2 Emadeb/Hyde/AY Maikifi/Brittania-U Consortium MT Tom Hilde
3 Oando MT Elka Apollon
4 Duke Oil MT Nord Gainer

4. Cargoes quality certificates issued at load port (Antwerp-Belgium) by AmSpec Belgium indicate that the gasoline complied with Nigerian Specification.

5. The NNPC quality inspectors including GMO, SGS, GeoChem and G&G conducted tests before discharge also showed that the gasoline met Nigerian specification.

6. As a standard practice for all PMS import to Nigeria, the cargoes were equally certified by inspection agent appointed by the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority has met Nigerian specification.

7. It is important to note that the usual quality inspection protocol employed in both the load port in Belgium and our discharge ports in Nigeria do not include the test for Percent methanol content and therefore the additive was not detected by our quality inspectors.

8. In order to prevent the distribution of the petrol, we have ordered the quarantine of all un-evacuated volumes and the holding back of all the affected products in transit (both truck & marine).

9. All defaulting suppliers have been put on notice for remedial actions and NNPC will work with the authority to take further necessary actions in line with subsisting regulations.

10. NNPC wishes to reassure Nigerians that we are currently sourcing additional cargoes to ensure product sufficiency

Anxiety As Fuel Queues Emerge In Lagos, Persists In Abuja

Fuel queues surfaced in Lagos on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, while the queues persist in Abuja. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

Fuel queues on Tuesday morning emerged in Lagos with a tailback stretching across some parts of the state.  

This caused gridlock in major parts of the state affecting traffic movement.

Some fuel stations were locked while a few which were opened had long queues of motorists waiting to buy fuel.

On the Island, many filling stations were also seen with long queues.

Photo showing a queue for fuel at a station in Abuja on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

The situation is not different in the capital city, Abuja, and surrounding states where the majority of filling stations were shut and motorists spent hours in the sun struggling to buy from the few that were open.

READ ALSO: JAMB Introduces Self-Registration In Lagos, Abuja, Adopts New USSD Code

These fuel queues have emerged in Lagos despite the assurance by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over a week ago that the company has sufficient stock of Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise known as petrol, to meet the needs of Nigerians.

Photo showing a queue for fuel at a station in Abuja on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. PHOTO: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels TV

 

In a statement released on Wednesday, January 26 by the Group Managing Director, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Garba Deen Muhammad, the corporation warned against panic-buying and assured that it remains deeply committed to ensuring energy security for the country.

 

See more photos of the fuel queues below…

Motorists Lament Difficulty As Fuel Queues Return

Motorists in search of fuel at an NNPC station in Abuja

 

The queues for petrol have gone worse in some parts of the country especially in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Motorists besieged the few outlets that were open for business in the FCT.

Some of the motorists who spoke with Channels Television say they spend as much as five hours to access fuel.

READ ALSO: FG Raises Concern Over Possible Scarcity Of Petrol

This comes against the backdrop of speculations that the pump price of petrol may be increased.

However, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) insists that there is no increment in the ex-depot price of petrol.

The Corporation also stated that it has enough stock of petrol to keep the nation well supplied for over 40 days and therefore, urged motorists to avoid panic buying.

 

See photos of fuel queues in Abuja, below…

Nigerians Join Global Celebration Of Christmas

Nigerians have joined Christians around the world in the global celebration of the birth of Christ.

The Christmas celebration is usually colourful and full of activities as it also marks the end of the year celebrations.

President Muhammadu Buhari in his Christmas message on Saturday assured Nigerians of better days ahead as they celebrate the yuletide. In the message tagged “President Muhammadu Buhari’s 2017 Christmas Message To The Nation’, he expressed hope that the nation will definitely prevail on its trials.

Senate President Bukola Saraki and Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu in their messages preached unity, peace and brotherly love.

Saraki said Nigerians should rededicate themselves to the service of humanity in line with the true teachings of Jesus Christ while Ekweremadu called on Nigerians to emulate the great virtues of humility, love, peace, forgiveness, and reconciliation which he said were the real reasons for the coming of Jesus Christ.

These Christmas messages by Nigerian leaders comes amid the issue of fuel scarcity witnessed across the country, a situation that has led to an increase in the cost of transportation, thereby making it a sour Christmas for some Nigerians.

Various part of the country is encumbered with chaotic traffic scenes with commuters spending hours on the road two days to Christmas Day. The situation is worsened by long queues of vehicles at filling stations in most parts of the state owing to the bitting fuel scarcity.

President Buhari President Buhari in his reaction to the acute fuel scarcity sympathised with Nigerians on having to “endure needless fuel queues.” He assured of NNPC’s intervention, saying he has directed regulators in the oil and gas industry to step up their surveillance and bring an end to hoarding and price inflation of petroleum products by marketers.

Buhari who is also the Minister of Petroleum said the acute fuel shortage is regrettable.

The opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in reaction to the fuel shortage amidst Christmas preparation described this Christmas as “the worst ever.” The party called on Nigerians not to despair but to use the occasion of this year’s Christmas to show love, care and encourage one another despite the biting economic hardship.

The PDP said it is disheartening that Nigerians could not merrily celebrate the yuletide due to the current biting economic hardship worsened by the acute fuel shortage.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, lightening up Nigerian’s Christmas celebration on Sunday said the media team of President Buhari has released a documentary titled “Buhari: Beyond the Iron and Steel” as a yuletide gift for all.

Reacting to criticism that trail the proposed the documentary, he described critics as malicious adding that fault-finding is the stock-in-trade of such people and that if the critics mistakenly find themselves in heaven, they would even complain against God.

The documentary is aimed at showing the other side of President Buhari and according to Adesina, despite the temporal pains, life must continue, and Nigerians must look at the cheery side, while the government works hard to bring succour.

‘I Sympathise With Nigerians,’ Buhari Reacts To Fuel Scarcity

Nigeria Has No Option Than To Fight Climate Change – Buhari
File photo

President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to the lingering fuel scarcity across the country sympathising with Nigerians on having to “endure needless fuel queues.”

The President in a statement on Sunday assured of NNPC’s intervention. He said he has directed regulators in the oil and gas industry to step up their surveillance and bring an end to hoarding and price inflation of petroleum products by marketers.

READ ALSO: Efforts To End Fuel Scarcity Ongoing – NNPC Boss

Buhari who is also the Minister of Petroleum said the acute fuel shortage is regrettable.

“The fuel scarcity being experienced nationwide is regrettable. I sympathise with all Nigerians, on having to endure needless fuel queues. I’m being regularly briefed, especially on the NNPC’s interventions to ensure that there is enough petrol available during this period and beyond.

“I have the NNPC’s assurance that the situation will improve significantly over the next few days, as new shipments and supplies are distributed across the country.

“I have also directed the regulators to step up their surveillance and bring an end to hoarding and price inflation by marketers,” he said.

The President, therefore, assured that the relevant agencies will continue to provide updates on the situation and thanked Nigerians for their patience and understanding.

Fuel Queues Return Over PENGASSAN’s Nationwide Strike

Just as Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief after fuel supply was restored last week, fuel queues are back to petrol stations in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos and other parts of the country.

This is following the strike action declared by the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) last week after the group threatened to embark on an indefinite strike beginning from 11:59 pm today (Monday).

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The union’s action follows the expiration of an ultimatum it gave to the Federal Government to address issues which they consider detrimental to the welfare of their members.

In a statement last week, PENGASSAN ordered the shutting down of all oil and gas installations, resulting in the disruptions to fuel supply and distribution across the country.

PENGASSAN giving reasons for the strike action alleged anti-labour practices against some of its members by some indigenous oil companies.

Other reasons include the alleged sack of workers by one of the oil companies due to their involvement in union activities and non-remittance of workers’ taxes to the PFAs by the same company.

PENGASSAN’s spokesman, Fortune Obi, told Channels Television that the strike became inevitable following the failure of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, to resolve the industrial dispute.

Last week, many woke up to long queues at petrol stations in some cities across Nigeria, with the Independent Marketers and the NNPC trading blame on the cause of the fuel scarcity.

This week, the long queues persist as the PENGASSAN nationwide strike commences.

NNPC Assures Nigerians Of Sufficient Product As Fuel Queues Emerge

Most petrol stations nationwide are currently besieged with queues, some are either shut down while those opened are flooded with inevitable queues.

The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has attributed the scarcity to undersupplying of petrol by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from Lagos.

An Independent Marketer, Benjamin Omale, told Channels Television, on Tuesday that they were not getting enough products from the PPMC and Private tank farms in Lagos, coupled with the fact the Kaduna refinery where they normally load their products from have been shut down for quite some time.

READ ALSO: NNPC Boss Cuts Short Foreign Trip To Address Fuel Scarcity

“Right now, we are having a total shortage of products because we are not getting supply from our depots. And as we all know, the refinery, we have not been getting supply from the refinery. We are hoping and believing that when they resume production, we will be able to get products from their and distribute to all our outlets,’’ he said.

He appealed to the PPMC to ensure that marketers get enough petrol that will serve them throughout the Yuletide, expressing fear that the scarcity could extend to next year if nothing is done urgently to address the situation.

The GMD of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikantu Baru had earlier given the assurance on November 30, 2017, in a statement saying there were enough products for the Christmas season and beyond, and no plan to increase fuel price at the depot and at filling stations.

“We are prepared and we have sufficient products that will last us to the end of the year and into next year. We have an average consumption of about 35million litres per day and at the moment, we have well over 1 billion litres of petroleum products,” he said.

In Kaduna, long queues have resurfaced at many filling stations in the state capital and other parts of the state, as most of the stations across the metropolis were shut down on Tuesday morning due to non-availability of petrol.

This is coming more than a year after the country experienced petrol scarcity, especially during festive periods.

Only a few stations were observed to have petrol and are selling to motorists, thereby leading to long queues.

Some motorists in the long queues, who expressed concerns over the development appealed to the Federal Government and relevant regulatory agencies to step up action in curtailing the crisis.

In Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital fuel stations as monitored in the state capital  were dispensing with free movement of vehicles in and out of fuel stations just as the department of petroleum resources monitored compliance by fuel station across the state

Leading the monitoring team in the state capital, the operation controller of the DPR in charge of Ogun State, Mrs Muinat Bello-Zagi said that the monitoring exercise became imperative in order to ensure that consumers are not under dispensed and have value for money.

Fuel Queues In Abuja Gradually Disappearing

Fuel QueuesThe situation in most fuel stations in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital has improved as the fuel queues have reduced and motorist are delighted at the new development.

This is because the Department for Petroleum Resources (DPR) has continued to monitor the sales of the product and residents of the city have asked for the continuity of this exercise.

The Director of Petroleum Resources at the DPR, Mr Mordecai Ladan, who led a team of officials to some fuel stations in the Federal Capital Territory and its environs warned that the agency would not condone any form of sabotage by the marketers in creating artificial scarcity of the product.

Consequently, some fuel stations who were not dispensing fuel appropriately have been sealed by officials of the DPR and they have promised to further sanction fuel marketers who divert petroleum products.

While residents of Abuja enjoy the stress-free buying of fuel in less than ten minutes, officials of the DPR have promised to ensure that fuel supply by fuel marketers is not sabotaged.

For now, residents of Abuja can heave a sigh of relief from hours of wait at fuel stations. They also expect that adequate measures would be put in place to ensure availability of the products in the days ahead.

NNPC Injects Additional PMS To Eliminate Fuel Queues

fuel scarcity and Fuel Queues The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Wednesday injected additional volumes of Premium Motor Spirit to enrich product availability in some major cities with noticeable fuel queues.

In a statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ohi Alegbe, the NNPC said that the measure was in line with its drive to ensure zero fuel queues ahead of the forthcoming yuletide and beyond.

“The Corporation is working assiduously with its downstream subsidiary company, the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) and other downstream players to consolidate the prevailing stability in the supply and distribution of fuel nationwide.

“Apart from increasing the volume of products distributed to stations across the country, inspection team from the PPMC have been commissioned to go round our operational areas to ensure compliance with laid down rules regarding loading and product evacuation across board to eliminate hoarding and other vices detrimental to the free flow of products,” the NNPC said.

The Corporation also noted that the initiative to ensure zero fuel queues had been bolstered with the approval by the Federal Government for the immediate payment of 413 billion Naira to oil marketers as outstanding payment for subsidy claims.

“It is our belief that with the outstanding payment due to Oil Marketers now assured, the marketers and other downstream players will join hands with the NNPC to guarantee that the nation remains wet with petroleum products all year round,” the Corporation said.

Fuel Scarcity Worsens In Ogun, Ondo States

fuelThe lingering fuel scarcity in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital has continued to bite harder as vehicle owners and commuters spend hours at different fuel stations across the state capital without success.

Visit to some fuel stations in the metropolis revealed that there were long queues without any hope of getting this essential commodity by residents.

In some stations where the product was available, it was being sold between 100 and 130 naira unofficially.

As a result of this development, prices of essential commodities and transport fares in and outside the state have been raised considerably, making life difficult for residents who bear the brunt of the scarcity.

Residents, whose means of livelihood depend mostly on the use of the Premium Motor Spirit also known as petrol, have called on authorities concerned to do the needful to address their plight.

Meanwhle in Ondo State, in spite of the fact that oil marketers have started lifting fuel, consumers still find it difficult to get the product easily at the filling stations.

A visit by Channels Television to some filling stations in Akure, the State capital revealed that only a few major oil marketers are selling petrol at the official price of 87 Naira per litre.

The independent marketers, however, are still selling at between N120 and N150 per litre.

Long queues of vehicles, motorbikes as well as jerrycans were noticed‎ at the stations selling at the official price where consumers hustle to outwit one another to purchase the product.

But the ones selling at higher prices do not have much patronage.

Some consumers who spoke to Channels Television wondered why the price of fuel is not uniform and equally lamented the agonies they go through to purchase the product.

They called on the government agency saddled with the responsibility of regulating the pricing of fuel to wake up to its responsibilities.

Non-payment Of Subsidy Claims

For weeks, petrol stations across Nigeria witnessed long queues, triggered by non-payment of subsidy claims to oil marketers.

The situation continued even after the Federal Government announced that it had paid 156 billion Naira to the marketers as at last week.

The situation left many Nigerians to spend between five to six hours waiting to buy fuel. Man hours were lost.

While sale was ongoing at some fuel stations visited by Channels Television’s crew, some other fuel stations were not selling the product even after they had received supply.

The payment claims impasse that led to the short supply of fuel seemed to have been resolved in the meeting between the government officials and petroleum marketers but the persisting scarcity is beginning to take its toll on Africa’s largest economy.

Fuel Scarcity: Queues Will Reduce In Few Days – Gambo

Fuel scarcityFormer National Spokesperson of PENGASSAN, Seyi Gambo, believes that the fuel scarcity across the country would soon subside

Speaking to Channels Television via the telephone on Monday morning, Mr Gambo said that the strike by the oil marketers to demand for monies owed them by the Federal Government was never planned to be a full blown but a warning strike.

He noted that the Federal Government having started the payments, there were indications that the queues in the filling stations would start to reduce in few days.

While calling for patience, he also stated that it had become imperative for Nigerians to decide “once and for all” if the fuel subsidy should be removed.

“I am of the opinion that it should be removed but there should be a programme by the government that at so so time we are exiting out of this and by that time we have infrastructure for refineries (to be in operation) to revert this total importation of fuel.

“As long as we have this mass importation of fuel, we cannot have anything other than this because there will be gaps and leakages in the system and the system is so corrupt,” he said.