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JUST IN: Long queues, traffic snarl-ups in Lagos as petrol scarcity continues

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The petrol situation in Lagos lengthened queues at filling stations on Wednesday, with resultant traffic snarl-ups noticed in parts of the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that black market sellers also took advantage of the fuel scarcity, offering petrol in jerry-cans by roadsides, to willing buyers.

Such a situation was noticed on the popular Ikorodu Road and parts of Ikeja on the Mainland.

A woman, Folakemi Titilope, a Secretary, told NAN that she spent three hours on the queue to get fuel at N200 per litre, well above the approved pump price band of N162 to N165.

She said she was able to get the fuel at a filling station close to Berger Bus Stop on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

In the Lagos Island metropolis, motorists also continued to groan, following transportation fare hikes and traffic congestion caused by the fuel situation.

NAN correspondent observed long queues at many fuelling stations from 1004 Axis to the Jubilee bridge, Ajah.

NAN also reports that black market sales thrived along the axis as drivers got impatient with the queue and some bought four litres of fuel for as high as N5,000.

Mr Moses Ikem, a businessman, said he had spent hours at a popular fuelling station at Ajah, and as at 5:00 pm, he had not gotten to a reasonable point on the queue.

“I have been here since morning and even though the government is saying they have been sending fuel down, we have not seen the impact honestly.

“Power supply has also been very erratic and the weather due to the climate change very unpalatable so there’s no way one would agree to go to bed without power.

“They are not selling in kegs but some of us have loosened our generator tanks and brought with us, hopefully, they would sell to us before the close of business today,” he said.

Mrs Patricia Omoyemi, a housewife, said the fuel scarcity situation had hindered her children from going to school as school buses that have to travel long distances are refusing to do so due to the traffic and scarcity situation.

“We are calling on the government to come to our aid this time so that crippling economic and other activities are restored,” she said.

A barrister, Mr Ejike Ogan, said he was optimistic with the reports that fuel was being transported to states that were most hit by the scarcity.

“Panic buying is expected to slow down once they see tankers coming in their numbers to discharge fuel just as seen at this station within the last one hour.

“It is because I don’t have in my car and at home at all, otherwise, I would have gone home and returned when things become normal.

“There would soon be a gradual but steady withering of the intensity of the queue once the tankers start to trickle in,” he told NAN at a filling station.

Commuters along the axis also lamented the impact of fuel scarcity on the cost of transportation and traffic.

Miss Roseline Okeke, a fashion designer, told NAN that as of Wednesday morning, the fare for buses headed to C.M.S and Oshodi had doubled.

Okeke noted that the fuel scarcity which made cars queue on the already tight road due to the ongoing constructions on both sides of the road had caused major traffic congestion along the axis.

” We are appealing to the government to task traffic wardens, policemen to help manage the situation better so that people can get to where they are going on time and in good condition,” she said.

When contacted, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) said about 253.98 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) was available at Lagos depots.

The authority also disclosed that 46.66 million litres of PMS, also known as petrol, was trucked out of the depots on Tuesday to filling stations in Lagos and other parts of the country.

Mr Ayorinde Cardoso, Zonal Operations Controller, NMDPRA, Lagos, told NAN in Abuja that the authority was working towards ending the lingering fuel scarcity in the country.

Cardoso said: ” As at 8 a.m. this morning, the total stock in Lagos depots was 253,980,444 litres of PMS.

“Total volume of PMS trucked out on Tuesday was 46,660, 659 litres with 1,101 trucks.

“700 of the trucks were distributed to Lagos and Ibadan Zone while 401 trucks were bridged to other parts of the country.”

He said seven vessels were currently discharging PMS to depots at both Apapa and Ijegun-Egba Jetties in Lagos State which would further improve the situation.

Cardoso said the authority would intensify surveillance of filling stations to find a lasting solution to the scarcity being experienced in the state.

However, Mr Chinedu Okoronkwo, President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), urged the Federal Government to urgently intervene in the supply challenges being experienced by his members.

Okoronkwo said the increment in the ex-depot price by depot operators and the inability of some independent marketers to get products had contributed to the lingering scarcity.

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