Despite the assurances by stakeholders in the petroleum sector on the resolution of the crisis in the sector, fuel scarcity has persisted in Abuja with widespread sharp practices recorded across almost all the petrol stations.
Of note is the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, mega stations along the Kubwa Expressway, where some officials of the outlet connived with some policemen and security agents to frustrate motorists and heighten the suffering of Nigerians.
When newsmen visited the petrol station, some policemen stationed outside the entrance were collecting N1,000 from some motorists and allowing them to enter into the petrol station through the exit gate, thereby, leaving other motorists who had queued for hours stranded.
Only 9 out of 40 pumps dispensing
Also, of the over 40 pumps in the station, only about nine were dispensing to motorists. Two of the pumps were selling to the hundreds of vehicles on the queue, while the rest were selling to black marketers and other motorists who have bribed the officials of the petrol station and policemen at the gate.
Spokesperson for the NNPC, Mr. Ohi Alegbe and Managing Director of the NNPC Retail Limited, operators of the mega stations and other NNPC retail outlets, Mr. Chris Osarumwense, refused to respond to enquiries and complaints sent to them over the issue, even as the situation continued late into the night at the petrol stations.
One of the motorists said he had been on the queue since 5 am but was not yet halfway to the entrance of the petrol station because of the sharp practices in the station.
Black marketers have field day
The source, who does not want his name in print, said: “Some motorists and black market operators came through the other side of the road, choosing not to queue, they drove straight to the exit gate of the petrol station, where they offered N1,000 bribe to some policemen, military men and the officials of the petrol station stationed at the gate. The exit gate is then opened for these people to go in.
“As this is going on, people on the queue remained on the spot for several hours, without any movement.”
Another motorist, who also chose to remain anonymous, said: “The black marketers come mainly in Volkswagen Golf cars, with extra tanks at the boot of the vehicles. After filling the tanks of their vehicles, the attendants go ahead to fill the extra tanks at the back of the vehicles. Sometimes, these tanks collect as much as 270 litres of petroleum.
“These black marketers bribe policemen and officials of the NNPC mega stations to the tune of N3,500 per trip and this illicit act is not only happening here, but in other NNPC stations across Abuja .”
The NNPC retail outlet along the Abuja-Nyanya Expressway was selling at N120 per litre, while the NNPC station at Zuba in Abuja were selling to motorists at between N100 and N120 per litre.
Black marketers continue to have a field day even at the front of the NNPC headquarters in Abuja, and on the roads leading to the office of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR.
Furthermore, most of the petrol stations in Abuja were shut, while the few that were selling were besieged by a large number of motorists.