The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has urged fuel consumers across the country to desist from panic buying, assuring that it has enough stock to meet the needs of consumers.
Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu, who confirmed this in a statement yesterday, said the ex-depot price of N133.38 per litre and the pump price of N143/N145 per litre of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) have not changed, hence there was no need for panic buying.
The Guardian’s investigations yesterday revealed that a significant number of filling stations in Lagos metropolis have no stock, while others were rationing the product.
The situation led to long queues and unethical bargaining with dealers by consumers leading to obstructing traffic thereby causing gridlock for road users and attendant pains and disappointments.
Stations monitored include Mobil at Isolo, Al-Mourof, Total (Agege), Pinnacle, Petroleum Manager, Wheel Oil among others.
Some commercial bus operators are already taking advantage of the situation to indiscriminately hike fares by as mush as 50 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Kacalla Baru, made an emergency return from London yesterday in a bid to salvage the fuel supply and distribution challenges.
Baru, who was billed to receive the Forbes Oil & Gas Man of the Year Award 2017 in the British Capital on Tuesday, flew back home to attend to what he described as a “matter of urgent national importance.”
Before leaving for London, Baru had directed that more truckload of petroleum products be dispatched to various parts of the country to cushion the effects of excessive demand caused by panic buying.
Also, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has expressed dissatisfaction with the situation as it plans to embark on picketing of erring filling stations today.
The Public Affairs Officer, Mrs. Olaide Shonola, who confirmed the inspection, said there was no reason whatsoever for the scarcity that seems to be spreading gradually, and the department would leave no stone unturned to restore sanity into the system.
Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream yesterday summoned Baru, to appear before it on Thursday, Dec. 7, having failed to appear before it yesterday. It also announced plans to commence nationwide inspection of filling stations over fuel scarcity in the country.
The Chairman of the committee, Kabiru Marafa, made this known while briefing newsmen shortly after an investigative hearing on the matter in Abuja.
Marafa said the senate would not watch some unpatriotic persons put Nigerians through any form of hardship, particularly given the yuletide.