- As fuel scarcity persists in the country, the federal government is trying out various methods to end the scourge
- Checks by Legit.ng showed the recent plot by motorists and black-market sellers in the nation's capital frustrating the government's effort
- Meanwhile, NNPC's failure to supply the one billion litres of petrol has further worsened the situation in the country
Abuja, Nigeria - A new trick has been employed by motorists, black marketers to frustrate the effort of the Nigerian government towards ending the perennial nationwide fuel scarcity, Legit.ng reports.
Recalled Nigerians are groaning daily following the continuous scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol.
In Abuja, the nation's capital, car owners mostly spend a whole night at filling stations to get the product. Yet, motorists and black market operators have employed a new way to get the product without hassle.
Motorcyclists, black marketers' tricks
Legit.ng gathered that motorcyclists, popularly called okada, have devised ways to buy fuel from filling stations in most of the satellite towns in Abuja in collaboration with the black marketers at the nation's capital.
PAY ATTENTION: Subscribe to Digital Talk newsletter to receive must-know business stories and succeed BIG!
Findings reveal that one motorcyclist buys about 60 to 70 litres a day.
This follows the ban placed on the purchase of petrol in jerrican.
But since the ban, the use of okada has become an alternative means of buying the product as some riders usually buy up to 5 jerricans amounting to 100 litres for their private business.
A motorcyclist who pleaded anonymity told Legit.ng that he goes to the filling station 5 to 10 times daily, but in the real sense, only 10 litres of the 50 to 60 litres he buys is his own. According to him, they siphon the product back into 10 litres of jerrican after each trip.
"The black marketers pay us N500 for our time. They will give us another N200 to settle the pump attendant."
Speaking on whether the 'dealer' will make enough profit, he added:
"Yes! The only money he is spending is N700. He will sell this for between N500 to N1000 a litre. That’s much."
Black marketer says
Legit.ng was at the scene of one of the transactions and a black marketer said that even though they make much profit from the business, they may lose once the product becomes available at the filling stations.
When asked about how she stores the product, she noted that sometimes, they take the risk of storing the product outside her house or in a detached bathroom within the compound.
NNPC filling station manager revealed
But an NNPC filling station manager said nothing can be done to stop motorcyclists from buying fuel from his station.
The manager who pleaded to be anonymous said:
"You can’t actually tell if an okada is genuinely buying fuel or just buying for black marketers, so we can’t exactly stop them coming to get fuel. It’s going to be very difficult."
Our correspondent observed that over 300 motorcycles crowded the station's entrance, making it difficult for cars to pass.
The manager affirmed:
“Look at them right there. If you don’t allow them in, how will the cars on the queue come in? You must open the gate for people to buy the product, else the scarcity continues. We understand that their activities are complicating the already serious situation, but there is nothing we can do. We can’t leave our station to trace them to where they are taking this fuel to.
“One thing that is sure is that they are discharging this fuel to some persons. We have been selling for okada since morning. We started selling 6am, and up till now, their number has not reduced.”
Legit.ng reports that the petrol monitoring team in Abuja went after black marketers Monday afternoon. Many black marketers openly selling the product by the roadsides were arrested and taken away alongside the product.
NNPC's failed promises on fuel scarcity
The Nigerian Petroleum Corporation Ltd, NNPC, had promised that the scarcity would end in a matter of weeks after it had pumped over a billion litres into the market.
But after weeks of the effort, the situation worsened even as Nigerians continued to sleep at filling stations to refill their vehicles.
At the time of filing this report, Mr Garba Deen had not replied to Legit.ng's enquiries on what happened to the 1.7 billion litres the government had earlier pledged to distribute across the country.
Legit. ng's prediction on fuel scarcity
Legit.ng had predicted that despite the release of over 2 billion litres of petrol for distribution, Nigerians would continue to struggle with the scarcity.
Black marketers have continued to smile to the banks as a litre of fuel sold in jerrican (Black market) goes for between N500 to N1000.
This has raised concerns among Nigerians, civil societies and top government opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who have now called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign for failing the country.
PDP calls for Buhari's resignation over scarcity of fuel
Earlier, the PDP had in a press release called on the Nigerian president who is currently in the United Kingdom for a medical check-up to quit power for failing to address the scarcity situation in the country.
In a statement issued by Debo Ologunagba, the PDP spokesman said the scarcity of petrol had caused severe hardship for Nigerians.
According to the party, Nigeria is on auto-pilot, considering the current fuel situation across the country.
NNPC insists it will end scarcity soon
But the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC) had earlier told Legit.ng that it was doing everything to ensure stability in the market.
The group's general manager, corporate affairs, Garba Deen Muhammad, said:
"Everything is being done to restore normalcy to the market."
Nigerian government plots against black marketers
Recall that the federal government had planned to clamp down on black marketers of petroleum products soon, even as it tackles the scarcity of the product headlong.
A source in the midstream and downstream regulatory authority had told Legit.ng that the activities of the black marketers were worrisome. If serious actions and measures are not taken, scarcity won't disappear as expected.
The source had warned about their activities in Abuja, disclosing that a massive campaign had been launched against those selling along the streets and on highways.