Fuel shortage bit harder across the country on Sunday, few hours to Christmas.
The situation, which became evident in Lagos on Friday, worsened on Sunday, with many filling stations not having the product to sell. Those with the product, had long queues of motorists awaiting attention.
Also, some filling stations had also resorted to profiteering, as they sold above the regulated price of N97 per litre.
It was gathered that some filling stations at Mile 2, Lagos-Badagry Expressway, among others, sold petrol for between N100 and N150 per litre. This was aside from others that dispensed via adjusted pumps.
Our correspondent gathered from market sources that in Abuja, the problem was worse, as stations with petrol had very long queues of motorists.
A top official of one of the oil marketing companies in Apapa, Lagos, who spoke to our correspondent in confidence, said almost all the depots in Apapa had not received any product since Thursday last week.
â€œIn fact, this Saturday, we didnâ€™t do anything. It will be very serious this Christmas because we donâ€™t see any magic happening between now and Tuesday,â€ he said.
The President, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, South-West branch, Alhaji Tokunbo Korodo, had said supply was still being rationed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, and that there were no signs yet of adequate fuel supply in the Yuletide season.
â€œPetrol supply is not yet enough. They are still rationing the product,â€ Korodo said.
This is coming few days after the NNPC pipeline explosion at Ijeododo in Ijegun, located in Ojo Local Government of Lagos State. The explosion occurred on Tuesday night last week. It was said to have been caused by suspected pipeline vandals.
Our correspondent gathered that the incident might have worsened the fuel scarcity in the South-West and other parts of the country, as the pipeline transports petrol pumped from Atlas Cove to Ejigbo, Mosimi, Ibadan, Ore,and Ilorin depots.
The NNPC had discontinued supply of petrol through the line following the explosion. The corporation pumps about 11 million litres of petrol per day through the pipeline.
The Chairman, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Western Zone, Mr. Olumide Ogunmade, had described the incident as â€œa bad thing,â€ that would have an effect on product supply.
According to him, the Ije-Ododo axis is a route to all depots, and the explosion on the line was like cutting off the supply route from Atlas Cove.
He said, â€œIt is serious. It is like going back to square one.â€Government needs to tackle pipeline vandalism holistically. We must not surrender to vandals.
â€œGovernment has the resources to fight this. It should set up the machinery needed.â€