ABUJA – The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has attributed the fuel queues in Abuja and environs to a slight drop in the lifting of oil by marketers from Suleja Depot.
A senior official of DPR, who preferred anonymity, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that the general elections also contributed to the prevailing queue in the city.
“During the election on Saturday and Sunday, there was no lifting of fuel at the depot and that will naturally affect its distribution in Abuja and its environs.
“This is a factor for the little queue you see around within the city; however, there is hope that the situation will improve as from Tuesday.
“The reason is that it is expected that lifting of fuel would have resumed on Monday,” the source said.
The source also attributed the queue to panic buying, adding that the quantity of fuel available was still enough to serve motorists in the FCT.
It blamed the oil marketers for the situation, stressing that most of them did not release their trucks to lift fuel because of the apprehension in the election result.
“You know that Abuja is a bridging depot and most of the markets were not willing to release their trucks to transport fuel from Lagos to the northern parts of the country,” he said.
The source said that when DPR noted a decline in lifting of fuel from Suleja depot, it called for a meeting with the major marketers.
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The official said the main crux of the meeting was to make sure that the marketers increased their bridging to Suleja Depot, to meet the daily demand by consumers in Abuja.
According to the source, the marketers eventually agreed to increase their bridging to the depot.
It expressed optimism that the situation would normalise after the elections.
NAN learnt that government was doing everything possible to ensure that normalcy returned as measures were being put in place to sustain the supply of fuel to motorists in Abuja.
The official warned the marketers against hoarding or selling above pump price, stressing that whosoever was caught defrauding or cheating motorists would face the consequences.
“The DPR will take decisive action against such marketers or filling station owners.”
NAN observed that queues began to gather in most of the filling stations in Abuja on March 26 as motorists scrambled to get fuel.
At the NNPC mega fill station on Olusegun Obasanjo Way, Central Area, there was a long queue stretching to Hallis Brothers Junction, Wuse.
The queues at ConOil and Total filling stations opposite NNPC headquarters stretched from the stations, through the Bureau of Statistics Complex, to the Unity Bank building.
The chaotic situation was also the same at the Forte Oil, adjacent to the NNPC mega station, where the queue stretched to the UAC fence.
It was observed that although Mobil filling station, in Utako and others on the Obafemi Awolowo Way were not selling, others like Eternal, NIPCO and Forte were dispensing.
Although various filling stations sold petrol at N87 per litre, black market operators sold to motorists between N120 and N200 per litre, depending on the bargaining power.
The black marketers, who cashed in on the situation to sell at prohibited rates to motorists, said they also bought the product at exorbitant price from the filling stations. (NAN)