PRESIDENT of Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria Adetunji Oyebanji has assured residents of Nigeria’s capital city Abuja and other neghbouring states that long queues at various filling stations will ease by Wednesday.
Adetunji, who spoke with The ICIR on the phone, described fuel queues at various filling stations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Niger and Nasarawa states as temporary, saying that tanker drivers’ earlier proposed industrial action had been called off following the intervention of the government and other relevant stakeholders.
“This is just a temporary hitch,” he said. “You know on Monday, there was strike by petroleum tanker drivers and there was no movement of stock in and out of various depots across the country. By tomorrow morning, I am sure this will be sorted out as they have started loading at various depots,” he noted.
“The government, you recall, had made the announcement about no plans to hike the fuel price. You know most often, towards the end of the month, most people resort to panic buying. It has nothing to do with the present situation as issues with the tanker drivers have been sorted out.”
Long queues resurfaced in Nigeria’s capital city on Monday, despite assurances by the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mele Kyari that the ex-depot price of premium motor spirit (PMS) remained unchanged with no plans to increase the pump price.
The Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), with the responsibility to deliver fuel at filling stations, had earlier planned to go on strike over the failure of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) to negotiate the renewal of the collective bargaining agreement for new working conditions.
The union had expressed worry that its members had been going through harrowing financial situations while rendering selfless national services to ensure delivery of petroleum products at various filling stations.
Nigeria is not totally out of woods regarding the problem of fuel subsidy – a situation most analysts describe as unsustainable. Experts say fuel subsidy puts pressure on the government’s finances, draining the scarce resources needed to advance the nation’s infrastructural development.
Kyari had, in a briefing to State House correspondents on Tuesday, said the queues currently witnessed in Abuja and neighbouring states would end on Tuesday, noting that the government had resolved the proposed industrial action with Tanker Drivers Association. But the situation did not change on Tuesday as observed by The ICIR at various filling stations.
“The government has assured that it is not changing price and people seem to be reacting with long queues. There’s always that belief and suspense once the month is coming to an end. There’s no need for the queues, the product is available, ” an oil sector governance expert Henry Adigun told The ICIR.