By Bassey Udo
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) has said the return of fuel queues outsiding filling stations in Abuja and environs was as a result of the long public holidays to celebrate this year’s Muslim Ramadan.
Residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and environs woke up on Sunday to see long queues of anxious motorists resurfaced outside filling stations as a result of speculations about another round scarcity of petroleum products in the country.
In recent times, reports have been rife in the media about the scarcity of petroleum products, especially automotive gas oil (AGO), popularly called diesel, and Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK), or aviation fuel.
The cost of both fuels have been on the increase, as marketers blamed the current energy crisis in Europe, which has worsened petroleum products supplies as a result of the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Last week, the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) announced a plan to cease further flight operations and shut down the country’s aviation sector from Monday, May 9, 2022, as a result of the “prevailing circumstances of high and rising cost of jet fuel.”
Although the plan has since been called off, the pervading uncertainty continues, as the fuel queues at the filling stations have not thinned out.
But in a statement through its official Twitter handle, @NNPCgroup, the NNPC offered explanations on what the cause of the latest fuel crisis was and its efforts to resolve it.
The statement signed titled: “MILD FUEL QUEUES IN ABUJA” and signed
by its spokesperson, Garbadeen Mohammed, the NNPC said:
“The NNPC Ltd notes the sudden appearance of fuel queues in parts of Abuja. This is very likely due to low loadouts at depots which usually happen during long public holidays, in this case, the Sallah celebrations.
“Another contributing factor to the sudden appearances of queues is the increased fuel purchases, which is also usual with returning residents of the FCT from the public holidays.
“NNPC and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (@NMDPRAtweets) in conjunction with our marketing partners have taken necessary measures to ramp up loadouts from all depots.
“We assure all residents of the FCT, and indeed all Nigerians, that we have ample local supplies and national stock in excess of 2.5 billion liters, with sufficiency of more than 43 days.
“The NNPC Ltd hereby advises motorists not to engage in panic buying as supplies are adequate as will become increasingly evident in the coming days.”
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