The Federal Government has admitted that the fuel scarcity was not because of the absence of supply of products but due to inspection failure, which allowed adulterated products into the country.
In a statement by the Senior Adviser on Media and Communications to the Minister of State Petroleum Resources, Horatius Egua, the Federal Government noted that such action is regrettable.
“The Federal Government sympathizes with the citizenry over the unforeseen hardship, occasioned by the inevitable scarcity. Let me once again appeal to Nigerians to be patient with the government in finding lasting solutions to the crisis.
“We appreciate the NNPC for showing so much concern to the plight of Nigerians by coming forward with an apology. This is unprecedented and shows that we on the government side are not afraid to take responsibility”, he said.
Egua noted that the Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority has been out on the streets; filling station by filling station to ensure that the situation normalizes quickly.
“This is a time that calls for collective action to save a situation that was not foreseen. It is not a time to trade blames as is customary in Nigeria. It is therefore not a time to query anyone but a time to come together to salvage the plight of the average Nigerian.
“After the storm settles there will be time enough to investigate and get to the bottom so that this does not repeat itself.
“Mr. President’s charge to all parties and agencies concerned is to work together to ensure that normalcy returns quickly’, the statement added.
He said that Nigerians deserve the best and President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is determined to set the country on the right path of petroleum products availability and sustainability as demonstrated in the award of the contracts for the rehabilitation of all our refineries and the acquisition of a stake in the Dangote Refinery.
“Let us as Nigerians stand shoulder to shoulder in our shared quest for a greater country,” he noted.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has assured that the organisation has enough petrol to address the supply gap in the country, saying there are one billion litres of the product in stock.
NNPC Group Executive Director (Downstream), Mr Adetunji Adeyemi, gave the assurance during a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday.
“As of today, NNPC has over One (1) billion Litres of certified PMS stock that is safe for use in vehicles and machinery,” he said.
According to him, the NNPC is also expecting about 2.3 billion litres of petrol in the country by month-end.
“NNPC Ltd wishes to reassure Nigerians that it has put adequate measures in place to accelerate the nationwide distribution of PMS earlier disrupted by the quarantine of methanol-blended petrol,” he further noted amid concerns over the scarcity of the product.
To ensure seamless access to petrol, the NNPC also directed its depots and outlets to begin 24 hours operations.
“In order to accelerate PMS distribution across the country, NNPC limited has commenced 24 hours operations at its depots and retail outlets nationwide,” he said.
He also noted the “NNPC has constituted a monitoring team with the support of the authority and other security agencies to ensure smooth distribution of petrol nationwide”.
The NNPC’s recent move comes on the heels of concerns over the availability of fuel. For days, long queues have resurfaced across cities in the countries. Motorists spend hours trying to fill up their tanks while commuters have been left stranded. In cities like Lagos, transport fares have been hiked and gridlock has become commonplace especially in filling stations.
Petrol scarcity has hit many parts of Kaduna State occasioned by the recalling of contaminated fuel already in circulation.
Many stations shut down services, a situation that caused long queues in the metropolis. Buyers had to groan as they waited for hours to fill up their tanks at the few facilities selling the product.
The Independent Petrol Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) blamed the regulatory agencies for the problem even as they lament that many of their members have incurred huge losses from buying contaminated petrol which they said could have been stopped from the point of entry into the country.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, has hinted that there will be a major investigation to unravel the cause of the unsafe quantity of methanol in petrol imported into the country.
Speaking during a media briefing after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting held at the State House, he said the identities of the companies involved will be made known after the investigations are concluded.
“There will be a major investigation to unravel everything. We need to get to the bottom of it before we can come back to tell you what will happen to the culprits,” the minister said.
Nigeria is one of the major oil-producing countries in the world. But the country has largely depended on imported Petroleum products for its domestic consumption despite having refineries. This has often led to the scarcity of petrol across the country.