How do you deal with a fuel scarcity problem that rears its ugly head every time? One way would be to identify its underlying causes and address them, another would be to at least try to calm the public and assure them something’s being done about the problem.
Of course, there’s the special Nigerian option: unlook and pretend there’s no fuel scarcity and count on vibes and inshallah to resolve it.
On November 28, 2022, Punch reported that over 30,000 filling stations nationwide have been affected by the latest fuel shortage. The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) complained that its members have paid the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) more than ₦1 billion without receiving supply.
The NNPC and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), which regulates the downstream oil sector, have kept quiet on the matter.
Citizen spoke to some Nigerians to understand how the ongoing fuel scarcity affects them.
Tunde — Oyo
I run a logistics business in Ibadan with two motorcycles and we definitely need fuel. My riders have to queue for long periods to get it at ₦220 or ₦230 per litre in some places. Only a few places like the NNPC and Mobil are selling at ₦185.
The long queues mean our deliveries to customers are delayed. The fuel hike also means we’ll increase our delivery fees and this may affect the way customers patronise us. Personally, the cost of transport when I move around has also increased. A trip that used to cost ₦100 is ₦150 and what was ₦150 is now ₦200. It’s frustrating.
Patricia — Lagos
I’m a writer and I find it impossible to work at home due to this fuel scarcity. It affects my productivity and I have to transport myself to a workspace to work. Even the one I used to visit has now closed due to the fuel scarcity and I’m currently looking for any workspace I can use. NEPA isn’t helping matters with the poor electricity supply.
Emmanuel — Benue
I live in an agricultural town in Benue State. There’s only one motorable road in this town and we get light for about 10 hours a week. This means we have to resort to generators or charging devices outside.
The price of fuel before this current scarcity was around ₦240, so it’s fascinating to hear people in Lagos say it was around ₦170. Fuel is very scarce now and you’d have to join very long queues to buy as there are no more than eight filling stations here.
We now get fuel at ₦280 or ₦290 per litre and there are rumours it’ll reach ₦300 or above by the festive season. The rumour is what’s making filling stations hoard the little they have, driving the price even higher. The scarcity is affecting the farmers who have to transport their goods from the processing sites to the market. Life is now very difficult for everyone.
Kennedy — Cross River
I’m a student of the University of Calabar but I stay off campus. A trip that used to be ₦50 per drop is now ₦100. Prices for haircuts have increased too and we now pay ₦100 to ₦200 to charge phones and power banks as there hasn’t been power in Calabar South for the past week.
We queue at fuel stations for over five hours before we get fuel. Some fuel stations are selective in the type of customers they sell to. The whole thing is annoying here.