Strike: Petrol crisis worsens in Abuja, motorists spend nights at filling stations

Posted by News Express | 1 May 2015 | 3,965 times

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The oil workers’ strike, which began on Monday, is biting harder on residents as motorists queue for hours, and pass nights at petrol filling stations in Abuja.

The National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) and Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) had on April 26 commenced an indefinite strike over alleged non-payment of N20 billion debt owed them by major oil marketers.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that fuel scarcity, which had persisted in Abuja before elections, worsened on Monday with the tanker owners and drivers’ strike.

Many commuters were stranded at different bus stops due to lack of vehicles as the few ones that were plying the roads jerked up their fares by 50 to 100 per cent.

Most of the filling stations in Abuja metropolis were not selling, except few that rationed the sales from one or two pumps.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) admitted that the strike had affected the supply of petroleum products nationwide.

The corporation’s spokesman, Mr Ohi Alegbe, said it had sufficient stock of petrol at its coastal depots in Port Harcourt, Warri and Calabar, besides that of the national strategic reserves.

Alegbe stated that NNPC had enough stock of petrol to service the country for 27 days at a national consumption rate of 40 million litres per day

He said the NNPC had stepped up efforts to end the crisis in the fuel supply system which entered its fourth day on Thursday.

“We are, however, working towards a speedy resolution of the issues to ensure a hitch-free distribution of products across the country,” he assured.

He appealed to NARTO and PTD to call off the strike in the interest of the country while also preventing unnecessary hardship on Nigerians.

There are, however, long fuel queues in Abuja and its environs following the awareness by motorists that the tanker drivers had embarked on strike.

Hawkers of petrol in Jerry cans cashed in on the scarcity as they sold four litres for N2,500 and 10 litres at N5,000 in some areas.

Many obscure filling stations outside the city, especially in Suleja and along Zuba-Gwagwalada Road, sold the product between N110 and N150 per litre, far above the regulated rate.

Only filling stations within the city and those belonging to major marketers in other areas dispensed petrol at the stipulated N87 per litre.

Most of the stations dispensing products had long queues which created traffic logjams in major parts of the city.

At the NNPC Mega station on Olusegun Obasanjo Way, vehicular traffic was disrupted as the three lanes were impassable, thereby forcing motorists to drive against the traffic.

The situation is worse at the Conoil and Total filling stations opposite the NNPC towers.

Motorists on queues at the stations have been there for days, causing gridlock on the road which had been reduced to one due to the NNPC security barricade.

The situation is not different at other places like Wuse and Berger as vehicles clustered around any station with fuel, thereby making the road impassable.

Most of the motorists said they had to sleep in their vehicles at the stations before they could get fuel to buy.

A civil servant, Mr Adeniyi Isaac, said all his efforts to get petrol over the weekend proved abortive as most of the stations refused to sell.

Isaac said he had to wake up very early on Monday morning before he could manage to get petrol into his car.

Another motorist, Mr Amos Gabriel, said he had been moving from one station to the other without any luck.

Most of the motorists, who depend on public transport, lamented bitterly over the lingering fuel scarcity in the FCT.

They called on the NNPC and government to do everything needful to end the crisis in the city. (NAN)

•Photo shows fuel queue.


Source: News Express

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