Millions of Nigerians are complaining as petrol sells above N110 and queues by motorists continue to grow across the country.
This is against an official price of N87 per litre as the Federal Government subsidises Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) with N45.28 on every litre, according to latest figure from the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency.
In most fuel stations across the country, Nigerians have been buying petrol between N110 and N160, despite Buhari’s recent assurance that his administration would not remove fuel subsidy.
In Imo State, one of our correspondents who went round Owerri, the state capital, confirmed that most of the filling stations were selling above the pump price.
A motorist, Mr. John Okorie, who expressed disappointment at the N110 pump price, said he had expected Buhari would frontally tackle the persistent fuel crisis upon his assumption of office.
“If there is anything Buhari has to do to stabilise Nigeria, the first thing is to ensure regular power supply and keeping the pump price of petrol at N87,” he said.
In Ondo State, the product sells for N120 per litre in Akure and other towns.
A motorist, Mr. James Fayehun, blamed the situation on the President’s failure to sanction dealers who have been defaulting on the regulated price.
“I don’t blame the dealers that sell above the pump price. At least we have a government in this country which cannot claim to be ignorant of the development,” Fayehun said.
Meanwhile, experts have said that petrol subsidy arrears have continued to rise, in spite of the hike in the price of petrol by marketers. About two months ago, it was revealed that petrol subsidy arrears had hit N291bn.
The Executive Secretary, Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association, Mr. Femi Adewole, in a telephone conversation with one of our correspondents, said he did not have the current subsidy claims owed oil marketers, but noted that the figure had increased.
He said, “I don’t have the figure, but I know that what former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, handed over was N291.7bn. We have imported some cargoes after that and PPPRA has yet to advise our members because it does the calculations.”
One of our correspondents, however, noticed that the product was not available in most filling stations in Edo State thereby leading to long queues by motorists at the few stations that were dispensing petrol.
It was also discovered that most filling stations were selling between N110 and N115 in Minna, the Niger State capital; and Asaba, the Delta State capital.
A manager in one of the filling stations on the Asaba-Benin Expressway blamed the sale of the product above the pump price on its short supply.
The commodity sells for between N110 and N130 per litre in Kano State, depending on if it is a major or an independent marketer.
According to investigations, major marketers sell the product for N110 per litre, while their independent counterparts sell for between N120 and N130 per litre.
Independent marketers in Calabar, Cross River State, pegged the price of PMS between N105 and N110 per litre.
In Osun State, most petrol stations sell a litre of petrol for N110 even though the price stated on their fuel dispenser is N87.
A mega station belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation along Ring Road in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, which sells a litre of petrol for N87, attracts long queues of motorists jostling for fuel.
Some residents expressed their disappointment with the situation, however.
One of them, Mobolape Omotoso, said, “Petrol is one of the essential products in Nigeria, but despite this, its price is not stable. We are buying it between N110 and N120 per litre.”
The price of the petrol in Bauchi State fluctuates as the price ranges between N87 and N110.
Major marketers sell the product for N87 while the independent marketers sell it for between N103 and N110 per litre.
A civil servant, Abdu Saleh, who expressed displeasure with the development, called on the Department of Petroleum Resources and other relevant agencies to ensure that marketers comply with the government’s directive.
One of our correspondents observed that a few filling stations were selling the product for N110 per litre in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
Reports from hinterland indicated that the product was being sold for between N120 and N150 per litre.
The Zonal Chairman, Western Zone of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Debo Ahmed, blamed the hike and differential price of petrol on the insufficient supply of the product.
He said many fuel depots were not functional, while appealing to the Federal Government to make the depots functional to reduce the cost incurred in transporting the product.
In Oyo State, there is hardly any filling station selling petrol at the official pump price of N87 per litre. At least, 95 per cent of the major filling stations no longer sell the product as they claim they cannot get the product at rates that will make them sell at the official pump price.
In Ekiti State, where the product also sells for not less than N110, a commercial driver, Mr. Sola Ayeni, wondered why the government had failed to bring the price down.
He said, “We are not sure of how the government is going to tackle the problem, but it is good if a firm stance is taken on the issue.”
A trader, Mrs. Oluseyi Alade, said, “We are still watching the situation to know if the new government will be different. If with subsidy, we are still having this problem, then something is wrong somewhere.”