The Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) has blamed the recent fuel scarcity in Abuja and neighbouring states on flooding in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital.
The agency on Thursday said in a statement floods have submerged a greater part of the city and grounded all vehicular movements, affecting the distribution of products.
“This, unfortunately, has affected the distribution of petroleum products to the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and environs,” it said.
As part of measures to mitigate the situation, the agency said trucking via alternative routes is currently ongoing.
“Consequently, the general public is advised to avoid panic buying at fuel stations as the NMDPRA is working assiduously with relevant stakeholders and government agencies to ensure product availability across the country.
“In the same context, marketers are advised to desist from hoarding the product so as not to inflict hardship on Nigerians,” it said.
Queues reappeared in Abuja, the nation’s capital, on Tuesday, with many motorists finding it difficult to buy petroleum products as many stations were either closed or operated partially.
A PREMIUM TIMES correspondent who visited petrol stations on Wednesday morning found that many filling stations were shut to buyers while long queues were noticed in retail outlets in Wuse, Lugbe and Kubwa expressway.
A long queue was seen at NNPC retail outlet along Arab Road, Kubwa, while NIPCO and Saddi Kemil along Airport Road were under lock and key.
Azman Oil and Gas Nig Ltd. in Wuse was opened but an official said the station had no stock.
A motorist, Joseph Daniels, told PREMIUM TIMES the scarcity was likely a result of floods on the Abuja-Lokoja road.
“I’m not sure this is fuel scarcity, I think this is a result of the flood that has taken over many Nigerian states. I entered Abuja from Lokoja yesterday and the road was blocked due to flooding. I saw many trucks parked as I was coming,” Mr Daniels said.
But the vice president of Independent Petroleum Marketers of Nigeria (IPMAN), Abubakar Maigandi, was quoted by Daily Sun as blaming the queue on scarcity of petrol depots owned by the NNPC.
He also blamed bad roads. “The increase in depot price of petrol by private depot owners was noticed last week. We didn’t get at NNPC depots, and the private ones said the product is scarce,” Mr Maigandi said.
On Tuesday, the spokesperson of state-owned oil company, NNPC, GarbaDeen Muhammad, also told bad roads was also a factor.
Mr Muhammed said the issue had nothing to do with the NNPC as the corporation had enough stock of petroleum products.
“There is no fuel scarcity. Some trucks got stuck because of the conditions on the road.
“We have more than enough supply, just that the truck could not cross and we are doing everything possible to clear it, you don’t need to panic because this is not scarcity,” Mr Muhammad told.