By Stanley Onyekwere
Commuters in the FCT are groaning over the seemingly return of dreaded fuel queues, following the sudden disappearance of the product from some major petrol outlets within the nation’s capital city.
A situation which some commuters said portends serious danger to their wellbeing, given the usual nightmarish tales that accompanies it.
Checks revealed that since Monday evening, a handful of filling stations in the Territory, started ran out of stock, while some simply refused to sell Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, to motorists, thereby resulting in long queues.
The development, is coming after barely two years of relief from horror of reoccurring fuel scarcity in the country, especially during festive seasons.
Notorious places experiencing the long queues include MRS petrol in AYA, Conoil opposite NNPC Towers in Central Area and Area 10 respectively.
Also, at Total filling station near Police Force Headquarters in Area 11, many motorists queued for hours, and disrupted vehicular and human movement in the area.
And black markets that disappeared on the streets of Abuja, have again resurfaced, as young boys are seen carrying jerry cans of PMS for patronage by motorists.
As usual, transport fare has already increased by about 100%, from Mararaba to AYA, in Abuja that was N100 now N200, from Mararaba to Wuse that was N100 before now N200.
A commuter, Ibe Uchedu, who was seen waiting to board a bus from Nyanya to Berger, lamented that the huge man-hours wasted fuel scarcity period.
He expressed dismay over what he described as the greedy nature of transporters to hike fare at the slightest difficulty in getting petrol.
Another commuter, Lilian Adeboye, said the situation if not reversed would subject the people to more hardship, given the harsh economic realities in the land.
She therefore called on the government to quickly intervene, by unraveling and addressing the cause of the return of queues, especially before the peak of the Yuletide season.
Similarly, a driver, Umar Ali, who described the situation as unfortunate, urged the government to halt it before it escalates into a full blown crisis.
‘Some filling stations have already stopped selling to motorists in the bid to hoard the commodity.
“The few stations that are selling have a long queues of motorists, waiting to buy the product, this is not good, as great man-hours are being wasted,” he stressed.
It would be recalled that the pockets of fuel queues that started in Lagos on Monday Morning, emerged few days after the Independent Petroleum Markers Association of Nigeria, Lagos State chapter, accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of under-supplying its members with petrol.
The association alleged that the NNPC was not only under-supplying its members with the PMS, but was also frustrating them by reneging on the bulk purchase agreement it signed with its members to supply the product to them at N133.28k per litre.
Meanwhile, the NNPC maintained that there was no plan to increase the prices of petroleum products both at the ex-depot level and the pumps ahead of the forthcoming Yuletide.
They insisted that the ex-depot price of N133.38 per litre and the pump price of N143/N145 per litre of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, had not changed, adding that it had enough stock to ensure seamless supply and distribution of products across the country.
The corporation urged motorists and other users of petroleum products to disregard rumours of an impending fuel price hike on some online news platforms.