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Abuja residents groan as fuel scarcity bites harder

…we have sufficient fuel, says Kachikwu

By Idowu Isamotu with Agency Report

Cross section of residents of Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Sunday lamented the persistence of fuel scarcity in the city.

Some filling stations, which our correspondent visited in Central Business District, Berger, Area 3 and Area 10, were seen with locked gates.

One of the motorists, who simply identified himself as Lamorde described the problem as worrisome, saying most of his colleagues are currently going “through hell” in getting fuel.

“I have visited not less than five fillings stations today, all of them have been padlocked. Presently, my colleagues and I, are going through hell with this current challenge,” he said.

Another motorist, Hassan Lawal said he might find it difficult to meet some responsibilities at home if the problem is not resolved as quick as possible.

According to him, he won’t be able to work with his car for the period scarcity lasts.

Also, Olatunji Oladele, a fashion designer who was seen with jerrycan in order to buy fuel for his generator, simply said, “we are yet to get to the ‘Next Level’, is this kind of level we have chosen?”.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has assured Nigerians that there is sufficient Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) in the country.

Kachikwu in an Interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, said that the country had gone past the era of fuel scarcity and urged motorists to desist from panic buying.

“I can say that there shouldn’t be any reason for fuel scarcity, we have gone past the era of fuel scarcity.

“NNPC informed me when I made inquires that they imported enough.

“Yesterday, I saw a few pockets of scarcity in Abuja, but I was told that it was Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) related distribution issues, and it will be sorted out as soon as possible.

“So, it is not an issue of lack of sufficiency, I am told they have about 28 day’s sufficiency, two weeks ago, they presently have between 14 and 15 days product sufficiency,’’ he said.

The minister noted that the 28 days sufficiency was okay based on 50 million litres daily utilisation in the country.

“ I don’t expect to see a scarcity, I just expect them to work hard over the next few days to deal with whatever logistic issue they have. I will be working with NNPC on that,’’ he added

On queues building up in some filling stations in Lagos and Abuja, he maintained that the country was wet enough to serve the needs of motorists.

“I haven’t visited Lagos cities, but the information I have is that there is enough product on ground and we should be able to deal with whatever it is.

“The problem with fuel scarcity is that if you allow it to last for three days , then it builds up a life of its own.

“That is what I have enforced NNPC to do to make sure that it is resolved,’’ he said.

Kachikwu noted that it would had been a major issue for the country if there was insufficient product on ground but assured that NNPC would be able to resolve whatever the situation was in a few days.

A check by NAN on Sunday in Abuja, revealed that there were no queues in most filling stations along Airport road and Kubwa expressway.

NAN reports that at NNPC outlet, Conoil and NIPPCO filling stations along airport road, motorists were buying fuel with ease, except at the NNPC mega station at the Central business district, which a short queue.

A taxi driver, Johnson Adio said “this is not a serious queue, I spent just 20 minutes before buying, it is normal with this station because a lot of people like buying from them.

“It was on Friday that we had a little problem, but it is okay now,” he said.

Also, along the Kubwa Express way, there was no queue at AA Rano filling station, Shema, Mobil and NNPC stations.

NAN also reports that only few filling stations like DAN oil along the airport and the Kubwa express way were closed.

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