Black marketeers have taken over the retail of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in Abuja as the queuing spreads to petrol stations outside the city. Omole Ibukun, a business owner in Iddo, said that he bought a litre of petrol for N200 to fuel his generator on Monday. Another motorist told this newspaper that from a black marketeer he bought four litres of petrol for N2,000, a price that puts a litre of petrol at N500.
New National Star observed longer queues than was earlier reported on Monday. Motorcycles, privately-owned vehicles and heavy duty trucks formed lines long enough to stop traffic and cause congestion.
This newspaper also observed that some vehicle owners that usually transported themselves from neighbouring towns to Abuja in their own vehicles opted for the discomfort of public transportation which was also scarce leaving behind their vehicles. Zuba, Madalla and other communities along the Abuja – Kaduna highway had but few functioning filling stations. Those stations selling in Abuja included A. A. Rano and Shema stations at Zuba and Katampe Junction, Nipco in Kubwa, Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC) retail also at Katampe Junction, Dan Oil. Others were mostly shut.
The NNPC earlier today released a statement that said they have no plans to increase the ex-depot price in March. Increment in ex-depot prices means that petrol pump price will increase. This tune has been played by NNPC since February when speculations first arrived.
“The Corporation was not contemplating any raise in the price of petrol in March in order not to jeopardise ongoing engagements with organised labour and other stakeholders on an acceptable framework that will not expose the ordinary Nigerian to any hardship,” the release said in part. It also warned petroleum products markets to not engage in price increase or hoard petrol.
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has said that it was strongly opposed to any price increment on PMS. Experts are now of the opinion that the NNPC might have reduced petrol to retailers so as to force the labour congress to a rapid negotiation, this method, they said, have been used before. Efforts to reach Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has not yielded results as at the time of this report.