Fuel queues return to Abuja, FG issues strong warning to depots


Queues resurfaced at fuel stations in parts of Abuja on Friday, prompting the Federal Government to warn depot owners to desist from raising the price of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) above the approved rate.

The PUNCH had reported early this week that queues by motorists for petrol were seen in parts of Abuja, Nasarawa and Niger on Monday, but gradually disappeared on Tuesday.

The queues reappeared in parts of Abuja on Friday, as motorists were seen in large numbers in front of some filling stations that were dispensing petrol.

It was also observed that some filling stations were shut, despite assurances from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited that it had enough stock.

Right in front of the headquarters of the NNPC in Abuja, motorists formed long queues in front of the Total filling station that was dispensing petrol on Friday afternoon, while the Conoil retail outlet just beside it was locked up.

Fuel retailers had told our correspondent on Monday that private depot owners raised the price of petrol from the approved N149/litre price to between N154 and N156/litre.

But while reacting to the development on Friday, the newly established Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority warned depot owners to desist from increasing petrol price beyond the approved rate.

The authority said it had noticed that petrol was being sold above the official price at the loading depots of members of the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria.

This, according to the authority, was caused by the erroneous insinuation of an imminent increase in the price of the product.

The Chief Executive Officer, NMPRA, Farouk Ahmed, said in a statement, “The authority is assuring the general public that the price of petrol has not been changed and that the Federal Government has no intention of an upward adjustment of the price at the moment.

“The authority wishes to inform the general public that the country has adequate stock of petroleum and the NNPC has further assured of sufficient supply of the product.”

Ahmed cautioned marketers against hoarding and engaging in unwholesome practices that would be inimical to the smooth supply of petroleum products.

The NMPRA boss said he had directed all operational offices of the authority across the country to ensure that all loading depots and retail outlets were dispensing petroleum at the approved price.

He urged motorists to desist from panic buying and report any erring marketer to the nearest office of the authority.(Punch)

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