The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has blamed the prolonged fuel scarcity experienced in Kaduna and Nasarawa states and the Federal Capital Territory on the recently concluded general elections.
It also threatened to sanction marketers who hoard and divert the product, stressing that this had led to artificial scarcity of petrol in the affected states and the FCT.
In the past two weeks, petrol scarcity in Abuja and its environs had gone from bad to worse but the NNPC had kept mum on the development during the period.
Although the situation seemed to be abating by Wednesday as more filling stations sold the product, our correspondent observed that there were still long queues at the few outlets that dispensed petrol to motorists.
The PUNCH had in the past three weeks consistently reported how motorists were spending several productive hours on queues, all in a bid to get fuel.
But reacting to the development through a statement on Wednesday, the NNPC said “the noticeable queues at fuel stations in the FCT and its environs will soon become a thing of the past as the corporation has increased fuel truck-out from the Suleja depot to Abuja to ease distribution challenges.”
“The artificially induced distribution challenge in the FCT was as a result of the few days lull in the loading gantries caused by the recently concluded general elections across the country,” it added.
While calling on members of the public to resist the temptation of hoarding, product diversion and panic buying of petroleum products, the NNPC noted that it currently had enough products in strategic reserves to meet 30 days’ forward consumption.
The corporation noted that a special monitoring team had been deployed to check incidents of product diversion by “some unscrupulous marketers and ensure that appropriate sanctions are brought to bear on perpetrators of such unpatriotic acts.”
In a similar development, the management of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency has assured of steady and adequate supply of petroleum products across the country.
The Executive Secretary, PPPRA, Mr. Farouk Ahmed, gave the assurance against the backdrop of fears of shortfalls in supply and distribution of Premium Motor Spirit.
Ahmed, in a statement, said the PPPRA’s national petroleum products stocks data indicated that the country currently had 46-day national products sufficiency.
This, he said, comprised both land-based stock of over 28-day sufficiency and marine stock of about 18-day sufficiency.
He stated that daily PMS discharges by vessels were ongoing at jetties and depots nationwide and explained that currently, about 13 vessels were discharging petrol at various depots and jetties in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Okrika and Oghara, with another 16 more vessels offshore Lagos waiting to discharge.
Ahmed gave an assurance that trucking of product had been ongoing at coastal depots following appeals made to the National Association of Road Transport Owners, adding that security agencies had also assured NARTO of the safety and security of its trucks and drivers.
While appealing to Nigerians to be calm and not engage in panic buying, the PPPRA boss warned that the agency would not hesitate to sanction any marketer or depot owner caught hoarding fuel.