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Fuel scarcity: Marketers blame rain, thunder for fuel station chaos

Agency Report

The Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria, MEMA, on Sunday advised Nigerians not to engage in panic buying of fuel for stockpiling purposes.

Its Executive Secretary, Mr Clement Isong, gave this advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria due to the ongoing queues at filling stations across Lagos.

Isong explained that the shortfall of product in most stations was due to adverse weather and thunderstorms that delayed ship-to-ship trans-loading, among others.

Others, he said, included berthing at jetties, truck load-outs and transportation of products to filling stations, creating a disruption in station supply logistics.

He noted that the Nigerian Meteorological Agency had also warned that the loading of petrol should be avoided during rainstorms and lightning.

Isong emphasised that petroleum products were flammable and required transportation, dispensation, consumption and storage in strictly controlled and regulated manners.

“Any deviation from these regulations poses significant danger and risks, including fatalities.

“We wish to reiterate that there is no cause for alarm. We strongly urge Nigerians to avoid panic buying or stockpiling of petrol.

“This behaviour not only creates artificial scarcity but also poses a significant safety hazard,” Isong said.

He added that the delay in loading petroleum products at depots due to storms contributed to the shortfall of stocks in filling stations.

“Many trucks could not load product for over 48 hours during the storm.

“Now that the weather is clear, marketers have begun loading, and all trucks have commenced distribution of fuel to all stations across the country.

“We want to assure Nigerians that there is no scarcity, and they should not stock petrol at home,” he said.

He recalled that Malam Mele Kyari, the Group CEO, NNPC  Ltd., had said that the Nigeria Customs had inaugurated a team named, “Operation Whirlwind” to combat the smuggling of petroleum products to neighbouring countries.

He quoted Kyari as saying that the team would protect the nation’s economy from the adverse effects of smuggling petroleum products.

Isong also mentioned that illegal smuggling of the product to neighbouring countries had increased the country’s consumption to between 58 to 60 million litres per day.

To address this, he noted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL), had tightened up the supply chain to avoid illegal smuggling.

According to Isong, NNPCL is buying and importing petrol at international prices and selling at a considerably domestic price.

NAN correspondent, who monitored the situation in Lagos, reported that queues for petrol have resurfaced in parts of the city, with fuel stations packed with vehicles waiting to fill their tanks.

The long queues extended to road networks, causing gridlock in some areas.

NAN.

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