Commercial activities are gradually being paralyzed in the nation’s capital of Abuja, the commercial nerve centre of Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, Osun, Kwara, among other states as a result of the lingering fuel scarcity.
Long queues have resurfaced again at retail outlets in many parts of the country as many retail outlets are no longer dispensing Premium Motor Spirit popularly called petrol.
The new round of nationwide scarcity is caused by the importation of adulterated petrol into the country, a situation which has has led to fuel scarcity and subsequent long queues as only few filling stations are currently selling petrol.
The scarcity started two weeks ago when the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority disclosed that it was withdrawing the supply of petrol following the discovery of adulterated petrol with methanol quantities which is above the country’s specification in the supply chain.
The New Diplomat gathered that the situation has led to a hike price of fuel in many parts of the country, paving way for black marketeers who have stormed the streets to sell the scarce commodity for as high as N600 per litre.
It was also gathered that many motorists in Abuja, Lagos, Rivers, Osun, Kwara, among other states are now begining to spend the night in filling station in a bid to buy fuel.
The situation has also resulted in the transport fares hike with many small business owners lamenting that they are no longer able to perform their normal daily activities.
Addressing the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum on Wednesday, the Group Managing Director of the state owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) boss, Mr. Mele Kyari assured that the company had placed significant orders of over 2.1 billion litres of methanol-free PMS to ensure that queues vanish in a few days.
Kyari explained that the situation came about as a result of the discovery of methanol in the PMS cargoes shipped to Nigeria under the subsisting commercial contract operated by the NNPC and its partners.
Kyari disclosed that the reason why tests did not reveal methanol presence was because Nigeria’s specifications do not include methanol.
He said: “We are a law-abiding company. There is no way we could have known about the methanol presence. The only way we could have known about it is if our suppliers, in good faith, made the disclosure to us
“In this particular instance, the discovery was made by our inspection agents who noticed the emulsification at the filling stations and brought it to our attention.”
The NNPC boss added: “Subsequent investigations revealed that the four cargoes which are all from the same source also contained methanol-blended.”