Bleak Xmas: Intrigue as long fuel queues persist

…As NNPC, Marketers assure motorists

By Ibiyemi Mathew

Jingle bells, Jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it is. This old Christmas song comes to mind when we speak about Christmas, but how many Nigerians can sing it with as much excitement as they used to.  The special day which is earmarked to celebrate the birth of Jesus may have passed, but the memories from how the day was spent will forever be remembered by many Nigerians.

We may presume that Christmas was enjoyed by all and sundry but the reality is that it may have not gone down well as it used to with many families and business owners with the lingering fuel crisis. The lingering fuel crisis has made things difficult impacting not just on power supply but the cost of services, commodities and other aspects of the lives of Nigerians .

The Christmas Eve which would have been made colourful by various celebrations was instead characterized by persons queuing at the filling stations scrambling to  purchase fuel.

The supply was limited at many filling stations, while prices at the  others, where the product was made available were offered  way above the market cap.

Speaking to a resident in Ibadan, she said many of the filling stations asides from Bovas were selling for N230, N250  and the like per litre.

“Many filling stations were closed, so, I got my petrol for Christmas from a filling station in Akobo for N250 per litre. The queue was so long, but I couldn’t afford not to queue if I must keep my food items for the festivity frozen,” she said.

This could be said to be the same situation with most Nigerians, in a country where the power supply isn’t constant and people have sought an alternative by themselves to generate their own power but are still however frustrated by government policies.

No doubt, the popular saying that after God, the government is the most powerful is proving to be true. The action and the inaction of the federal government has occasioned hardship on Nigerians.

Almost six months have passed now and Nigerians have continued to groan amidst the never ending queues for Premium motor spirit at filling stations.

The long queues started appearing at the filling stations across the country in September forcing the price of the petroleum product to jump from N180 per litre to between N205 and N210 per litre at the filling stations owned by the independent marketers, while some major marketers were selling PMS between N180 and N185 per litre at that time.

However, the crisis has taken a leap forcing prices to sky roket to as much as N280 per litre in some locations. As it is with many Nigerians who easily adjust to changing realities, the prices are becoming normal, in turn, affecting the prices of other commodities.

Some were of the opinion that as long as the product is available, they are prepared to bear extra cost rather than waste their precious time queuing for fuel that they may still not get to buy at the filling stations across the country.

The NNPCL as the nation’s regulator must take proactive steps to enforce measures to mitigate the challenges was faced by marketers and consumers at large.

While these measures may not totally prevent problems occurring, they provide substantial protection against the impact of major and sudden supply disruptions.

It’s high time the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd collaborated with marketers to improve the distribution of petrol across the country. Nigerians deserve the best!

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