By Adewale Sanyaolu
The low level of supply of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly called petrol to independent marketers’ filling stations appears to be compounding motorists and commuter woes in Lagos.
According to the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), its members control over 70 per cent of retail outlets in the country.
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Speaking with Daily Sun in a telephone interview on Sunday, National Operations Controller of IPMAN, Mr. Mike Osatuyi, said the low fuel supply to its members could have been responsible for the persistent fuel crisis in Lagos and parts of the country.
‘‘You know that NNPC is currently the sole importer of petrol and as they say, he who pays the piper dictates the tune. They determine where they want products taken to, especially at this time of fuel crisis. So most of the loading out of the depots is first to NNPC retail outlets, then major marketers before consideration to others,’’.
Some of the oil marketers at Apapa, told Daily Sun in confidence that most of the loading out of the depots were as a matter of priority to NNPC filling stations before others.
Besides, they claimed that there has been effective monitoring by officials of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority(NMDPRA), leading to cases of diversion to unapproved locations.
‘‘I can tell you this for free. As at Saturday, about 175 trucks were loading out of NIPCO, though I don’t know how much of that volume was dedicated for Lagos. But let’s assume 40 per cent of that was for Lagos, the situation would have improved by now.
There are saboteurs within the system, who do things for selfish gains as against national interest. They prefer to take these products to where they will make triple gains.
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Daily Sun findings showed improvement in fuel supply to retail outlets around Ogba on Saturday, given an impression that the situation appears to have improved compared to the previous week.
Some of the retail outlets seen dispensing fuel on Ogunnusi road in Ogba/Ojodu, included; NNPC, BOVAS and Amus at Grammar School bus-stop while Sedabuk on Isheri Road was also seen dispensing fuel.
But as at yesterday(Sunday), the situation appears to have further deteriorated further as most retail outlets within Abule Egba were without products.
Some motorists who spoke to Daily Sun in separate interviews at various filling stations on Sunday expressed disappointment the fuel scarcity crises has become a case of the more they look, the less they see.
They argued that while they appeared relieved on Saturday that the case was getting better, the circumstances had become worse on Sunday.
Many of the motorists left the retail outlet dejected as they had come with high hopes to fill their tanks and buy some into jerrycans for domestic use since the power supply situation is equally not reliable.
On Iju Road, all the seven filling stations, including Enyo, NNPC, Quest, Oando among others were shut as at the time of filling this report.
At the popular Berger bus stop, many commuters were seen stranded as the number of passengers far outweighed the vehicles in operation.