Economy Politics

Toxic Fuel: Scarcity bites harder nationwide as commuters, workers lament

Buhari appoints Simbine as NISER’s 1st female D-G
Written by Maritime First

… As Presidency says Buhari didn’t order query against NMDPRA boss, says Presidency***

President Muhammadu Buhari did not order that a query be issued to the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Farouk Ahmed, over the importation of adulterated fuel.

The newsmen report that a national newspaper on Feb. 9. published a story, credited to an unnamed source, that President Buhari, who doubles as Minister of Petroleum, directed the Minister of State, Mr Timipre Sylva, to issue a query to the NMDPRA boss over the incident.

However, an authoritative source in the Presidency confirmed to State House correspondents that nothing of such ever happened.

The competent Presidency source, on Tuesday, stressed the need to set the records straight, saying:

“There was no directive to issue a query.

What Mr President is interested in is for all the stakeholders to team up, and resolve the issue that has brought untold hardship to Nigerians, who queue hours on end to get petrol.

“The President is aware that the Minister of State, the Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Ltd, Mele Kyari, the NMDPRA Head, and everyone involved, are working together to resolve the issues, at the shortest possible time.”

He added that what was uppermost in the mind of the president was the restoration of smooth supply of quality petrol to Nigerians, “and not recriminations or blame game.

“Forget the story of any query being issued.

It is not correct.

Yes, Mr President is unhappy with what happened, but he didn’t direct that a query be issued.

The story is not correct, “ the source affirmed.

In the meantime, Commuters in Abuja and other parts of the country have continued to experience hardship due to non-availability of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, for over a week.

The newsmen report on Tuesday that many fuel stations in Kano, Lagos, Nasarawa and Abuja, among others are still not selling petroleum products while few opened with long queue.

Newsmen report that few fuel retail outlets at Abuja, Kano and Nasarawa hoard or ration their fuel by selling N5,000 worth of fuel per vehicle.

Black marketers are equally seen making brisk business and selling at high price of N400 to N500 per litre.

This situation has affected businesses negatively, caused high increase in transport fare by motorists and subjected students and workers to trek a long distance to schools and work.

A private car owner, Alhaji Umar Abdullahi, at NIPCO Jabi, in FCT expressed anger on the decision of the station to only sell N5,000 worth of fuel per vehicle after queuing for many hours.

“It is painful that the station is not orderly, it chooses whom to sell to, leaving the queue and only dispense N5,000 fuel. How can I suffer to make money and suffer to spend it, “ he said.

Another commuter, Mr Ezekel Emmanuel, urged the Federal Government to take a drastic decision on the oil and gas sector, as the country needed stability.

“ You can wake with oil and sleep with no oil, at every slight provocation by the oil marketers they melt it down on the innocent citizens.

“ If removing subsidy on fuel will bring a permanent solution, I advise that they should do it in peace,” Emmanuel said.

A taxi driver, Mr Amos Nicholas, said that the hardship occasioned by the fuel scarcity was already telling on his family as they all depended on his daily returns.

Nicholas pleaded with the government to ease the hardship.

A private car owner, Mrs Mary Onuche, said that in order to avoid spending a whole day at the station, she bought fuel from the black market at N400 per litre.

“ I also noticed that the black marketers too are being rushed by buyers despite the high price given.

“How does the black marketers get this fuel they sell when fuel stations are only selling N5,000 per vehicle, there are lots of questions that need answers but who is ready to answer or take responsibility for this,” Onuche said.

Speaking with newsmen, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) confirmed that the actual cause of the scarcity being witnessed currently was the supply gap created by the imported adulterated fuel.

Mr Kimchi Apolllo, General Manager, Corporate Services, NMDPRA told newsmen that it was caused by the gap which existed by the process of evacuation, clean up and adding new fuel, adding that normalcy would be restored this week.

According to Apollo, the government, including NNPC, NMDPRA, oil marketers and relevant stakeholders are working assiduously to correct it.

“The Chief Executive of NMDPRA, Alhaji Farouk Ahmed is seriously discussing with some oil marketers to bring normalcy.

“Our officials are also on monitoring and surveillance.

I am sure that by this week, things will normalise,” the general manager noted.

It will be recalled that adulterated fuel, known popularly as off-spec PMS was imported into the country, throwing the volatile energy sector into a fresh round of fuel scarcity.

 

 

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